The proposed changes in the American Psychiatric Association's diagnostic manual surprisingly do not include sex addiction, obesity and Internet addiction.
But binge eating and gambling have been given a place.
The APA's diagnostic manual is widely used by doctors and insurers to across the world to treat mental illness.
The APA is looking forward to unify the four separate autism diagnoses in a single category, "autism spectrum disorders."
The APA will reportedly ask psychiatrists and the general public for feedback via the Internet. The draft document of the manual will be displayed so doctors and the public can comment until April 20 at www.dsm5.org.
The final guide, the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, will not be published until 2013. The last revision was in 1994, according to The Los Angeles Times.
"This has been a massive effort on the part of a very dedicated team...Their priorities were to make sure the manual is based on scientific evidence is useful to clinicians and maintains continuity with the previous edition wherever possible," the New York Daily News quoted Dr. David Kufper, chairman of the DSM-5 task force, as saying at a news conference.
It is believed that DSM-5 will have fewer diagnoses than in the previous editions of the manual. The reason some disorders will be folded into single categories is because studies show that they have similar symptoms and treatments.
The new draft's "autism spectrum disorders" will refer to several conditions, from slight social impairment to severe symptoms such as poor communication and repetitive behavior.
Geraldine Dawson, chief science officer at Autism Speaks, a research and advocacy organization, and a research professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said: "From a scientific standpoint, the changes in the DSM make sense...But people living with autism spectrum disorders may have a different viewpoint. For some, the change will be very disruptive and distressing. They participate in support groups that identify with a particular label. We need to be compassionate and sensitive about this."
Another proposed change seeks to place personality disorders into a single category. But Valerie Porr, founder and president of The Treatment and Research Advancements Association for Personality Disorders, believes this could be disastrous.
She said: "Borderline personality disorder has been the stepchild of psychiatry for a long time...It's very different from, say, bipolar disorder, and it's the least funded and least studied of any mental illness. By lumping all the disorders together, how do you keep the research going?"