Diagnose and Classify Mental Disorders for Clinicians and Researchers

Did you know the new edition of the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), used by clinicians and researchers to diagnose and classify mental disorders, is the product of more than 10 years of effort by hundreds of international experts in all aspects of mental health?

Their dedication and hard work have yielded an authoritative volume that defines and classifies mental disorders in order to improve diagnoses, treatment, and research. This manual, which creates a common language for clinicians involved in the diagnosis of mental disorders, includes concise and specific criteria 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.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, is the most comprehensive, current, and critical resource for clinical practice available to today's mental health clinicians and researchers of all orientations. The information contained in the manual is also valuable to other physicians and health professionals, including psychologists, counselors, nurses, and occupational and rehabilitation therapists, as well as social workers and forensic and legal specialists. DSM-5 is the most definitive resource for the diagnosis and classification of mental disorders.

DSM-5 was expected for years, and it brought a new system to evaluate mental disorders. Many things were modified comparing with DSM-IV-TR, and many disorders have a new grouping. Good and necessary book for all mental health professionals.

Every 10 years or so, the American Psychiatric Association comes forth with a new or revised dictum on the right way to look at and ultimately diagnose mental disorders. This is a very exacerbating, costly and unpredictable task that makes the outsider question the mental stability and masochistic needs of this very respectable and highly educated group of men and women. The end result is always affirmed by some, criticized by others, and nullified by yet a third group who think that the whole experiment of upgrading psychiatric nomenclature in lieu of the WHO's ICD-9 and ICD-10-CM (International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems) is ridiculous and unwarranted.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fifth Edition or DSM-5 is the formal (and DSM-5 abbreviated) name of the manual. It bases diagnoses by "prioritizing behavior over biology... (Relies) primarily on physical or behavioral symptoms to categorize and diagnose psychological disorders." (Parks, 2013) Yet, the structure of the DSM-5 "should improve clinicians' ability to identify diagnoses in a disorder spectrum based on common neural circuitry, genetic vulnerability, and informal exposures." (American Psychiatric Association, DSM-5, 2013, p. xlii) The DSM-5 is many things, which will likely all be debated, with one special ingredient - cogency. It is clear and concise and except for some discrepancies fairly research based.

Clinicians when dealing with cases of sexual assault and particularly Megan's Law should make sure that they are familiar with, at a minimum, such terms/phrases as anomalous activity preferences, anomalous target preferences, algolagnic disorders, paraphilia, normal sexual behavior, intense, persistent, normophilic (sexual interest), orientation, benign paraphilia, other specified paraphilic disorder, unspecified paraphilic disorder, admitting individual and preferential.

DSM-5 specifically disallows the use of a simple checklist approach to diagnosis. It requires clinical training to recognize when the combination of predisposing, precipitating, perpetuating, and protective factors has resulted in a psychopathological condition in which physical signs and symptoms exceed normal ranges" (DSM-5, p. 19). In other words, a short diagnostic interview of simply counting symptoms from a DSM-IV checklist, and writing a prescription, is no longer considered an appropriate clinical practice according to DSM-5. The Client-Centered approach to diagnosis established in DSM-5 is more holistic, including psychological, social, and cultural factors in diagnosis, and development of a comprehensive treatment plan. "The ultimate goal of a clinical case formulation is to use the available contextual and diagnostic information in developing a comprehensive treatment plan that is informed by the individual's cultural and social context" (DSM-5, p. 19). The Client-Centered approach requires dealing with clients' cultural backgrounds, current life problems, and past traumas.

This version of the the DSM is extremely well researched and organized, with a new section added on at the end to help get used to the diagnoses of personality disorders.