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The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is the standard classification of mental disorders used by mental health professionals in the United States. It is intended to be used for clinical, research, and educational purposes. It was first published in 1952, and its fifth and latest edition, DSM-5, was published in 2013.

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Overview[edit | edit source]

The DSM is published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and provides a common language and standard criteria for the classification of mental disorders. It is used in the United States and to varying degrees around the world, by clinicians, researchers, psychiatric drug regulation agencies, health insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, the legal system, and policymakers.

Development and revisions[edit | edit source]

The DSM has been revised multiple times since it was first published. Each revision has had its own focus and areas of improvement. For example, DSM-5, the latest edition, made significant changes from its predecessor, including a shift from the multi-axial system of the DSM-IV to a new, non-axial system that combines the first three axes into one list that contains all mental disorders, including personality disorders and intellectual disability.

Usage[edit | edit source]

The DSM is used by clinicians and researchers to diagnose and classify mental disorders. The criteria are concise and explicit, intended to facilitate an objective assessment of symptom presentations in a variety of clinical settings - inpatient, outpatient, partial hospital, consultation-liaison, clinical, private practice, and primary care.

Criticism[edit | edit source]

Despite its widespread use, the DSM has attracted criticism, both generally and in regard to specific diagnoses. Critics argue that the DSM represents an unscientific and subjective system. There are ongoing issues concerning the validity and reliability of the diagnostic categories; the reliance on superficial symptoms; the use of artificial dividing lines between categories and from 'normality'; possible cultural bias; and medicalization of human distress.

See also[edit | edit source]

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Resources

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