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Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5)

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5)

by Giuseppe TovarNovember 8, 2013

(ISBN: 978-0-89042-555-8)

The new edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association, replaces the DSM-IV (published in 1994). The DSM is the standard reference manual issued by the American Psychiatric Association. Its publication has generated much discussion, most of it regarding changes, and/or the lack thereof, in individual diagnostics.

Some concerns have been expressed. The British Psychological Society, which is skeptical about the practice of standardized diagnostic in general, and specifically as relates the diagnosis of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. And it generally opposes the biomedical model of mental illness, excluding social conditions and life-cycle events.  For many years now, Allen French, the editor-in-chief of the DSM-IV, has made public his critique of the changes in the DSM-5. More kinds of behavior are being conferred the status of disorders, giving pharmaceutical companies a great opportunity for profit.

Who needs the DSM-5?

Throughout North America, anyone who wants their health insurance to cover the cost for the treatment of their mental illness must first receive a diagnosis consistent with the pattern and that has a numerical code. The encryption code is required by US private insurers and Medicare. It is also necessary for the universal health insurance coverage in the provinces of Canada.

Why is it called a statistical manual?

Because the classifications within can be utilized in determining the prevalence of different types of illnesses that require a standardized classification.

The manual was conceived in 1844, the year the American Psychiatric Association was founded. It produced a statistical classification of patients in mental asylums. Then it was used by the U.S. Census Bureau. During the World War I it was to evaluate army recruits (likely the first time it was used for diagnostic purposes).

The manual is published by the American Psychiatric Association, but it is much in use in other countries, even though the ICD (international classification of diseases), which is developed by the global authority on the subject: the World Health Organization, is typically considered the standard. The DSM-5 provides ICD codes. A DSM code determines if your health insurance will provide coverage for treatment, and the type of treatment. (The DSM does not develop any recommendation for treatment).


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About The Author
Giuseppe Tovar
  • Erik
    November 8, 2013 at 8:21 am

    The DSM-5 is a manual for clinicians, other qualified people and yet it’s so interesting that many people nowadays tend to go online and just diagnose themselves. Even a diagnosis from a professional tends to predispose the patients they diagnose. Especially like I said now that people think they can just go online, they just start getting mixed up ideas in their head about how they’re supposed to be feeling and/or behaving, or if they see a pattern which is totally normal for everyone and they think because they like to be organized the have OCD, or if they are sad about something they immediately think it’s clinical depression. People should let the professionals deal with this stuff. How many people with a heart condition would just pick up a manual and perform a quadruple bypass on themselves? The brain is no different, it needs a professional.

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