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Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders

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The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, published by the American Psychiatric Association, is the handbook used most often in diagnosing mental disorders in the United States and other countries.

While widely accepted among psychologists and psychiatrists, the manual has proved controversial in its listing of certain characteristics as mental disorders. The most notorious example is the listing in the DSM-II of homosexuality as a mental disorder, a classification that was removed by vote of the APA in 1973 (see also homosexuality and psychology). Users should be reminded that the manual is, to an extent, a historical document. The science used to create categories, taxonomies, and diagnoses is based on statistical models. These systems are thus subject to the limitations of the methodologies used to create them. Deconstructive critics assert that DSM invents illnesses and behaviors.

Brief history

  • The first edition (DSM-I) was published in 1952, and had about 60 different disorders.
  • DSM-II was published in 1968.
Both of these editions were strongly influenced by the psychodynamic approach, which provides no sharp distinction between normal and abnormal. All disorders are considered reactions to environmental events, with mental disorders existing on a continuum of behavior. In this sense, everyone is more or less abnormal. The people with more severe abnormalities have more severe difficulties with functioning.
The early editions of the DSM distinguished between psychosis and neurosis. A psychosis is a severe mental disorder characterized by a disconnect from reality. Psychoses typically involve hallucinations, delusions, and illogical thinking. A neurosis is a milder mental disorder characterized by distortions of reality, but not a complete break with reality. Neuroses typically involve anxiety and depression.
  • In 1980, with DSM-III, the psychodynamic view was abandoned and the medical model became the primary approach, introducing a clear distinction between normal and abnormal. The DSM became atheoretical since it had no preferred etiology for mental disorders.
  • In 1987 the DSM-III-R appeared as a revision of DSM-III.
  • In 1994, it evolved into DSM-IV. This book is currently in its fourth edition.
  • The most recent version is the 'Text Revision' of the DSM-IV, also known as the DSM-IV-TR, published in 2000.
  • DSM-V, is not scheduled for publication until 2010. The APA Division of Research does not expect to begin forming DSM development workgroups until 2005 or later.

See also

External links

Last updated: 08-22-2005 01:14:22
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