The American Psychiatric Association is considering the recognition of Parental Alienation Syndrome as a disease in the Fifth Edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). Though the draft version of the DSM does not yet contain a definition for Parental Alienation Syndrome, the APA has specified that a group of mental health professionals has proposed a document discussing how to incorporate the term in the DSM-5.
Parental Alienation Syndrome is defined as a theory that explains a child’s estrangement from one parent during a high conflict divorce. Without valid justification, the child allies himself or herself strongly with one parent, and rejects the relationship with the other parent. Individuals who want to see Parental Alienation Syndrome defined in the DSM believe that the term should be recognized as a legitimate mental health disorder because it has the potential to lend credibility to parental alienation in the divorce process. Opponents of PAS as a syndrome or disorder believe that the term lacks empirical research and should not be recognized in the DSM-5.