Concerns About DSM-5, Axis V, K Axis and the WHODAS
From James Kennedy, MD, Editor
KennedyMD Publishing Newsletter
January 2013


It is my understanding that in the DSM-5, Axis V may be replaced with the World Health Organization (WHO) Disability Assessment Schedule (WHODAS). Even though the WHODAS is a good assessment tool for disability, it doesn't have Axis V's or the Kennedy Axis V's (K Axis) ability to generate a global assessment of mental illness.

I believe that instead of building on Axis V, the WHODAS will be opening a gap in the measurement of mental illness.

Dropping Axis V may be similar to Coca Cola's 1985 move toward abandoning the Coke formula to Pepsi. The Coca Cola Company felt that "New Coke" was going to take over the market, which it didn't.

Fortunately for Coke, the original formula was retained and it continues to dominate the market.

Similar to Coca Cola, is the American Psychiatric Association (APA) considering abandoning Axis V (the world's number one measure of mental illness) for the WHODAS (New Coke)?

Don't misunderstand me. As indicated above, the WHODAS is an excellent instrument for disability; however, it doesn't have Axis V's or the Kennedy Axis V's ability to measure global functioning across all diagnostic categories.

As the author of the Kennedy Axis V, I could potentially benefit or lose from this decision; however, as a psychiatrist, I see this as a potential loss for our profession.


We would appreciate any comments or feedback on Dr. Kennedy's concerns about the DSM-5 and potential abandonment of Axis V.

Click on "Reply" to this email to submit your comments or feedback. You may also send your email separately to Dr. Kennedy at:

Happy New Year,
The Staff at KennedyMD Consulting/KennedyMD Publishing
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