Using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders to Create Accurate Diagnoses
If you're in a medical profession, you might have heard of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). This book contains diagnostic criteria for diagnosing mental health conditions. It's published by the American Psychiatric Association.
DSM lists a variety of mental health disorders, including personality disorders, anxiety disorders, and substance use disorders. Each of these diagnoses has specific criteria, so it's important to get the correct diagnosis. Often, it's a case of identifying the condition by the symptoms the patient is experiencing. However, sometimes a diagnosis can be shared by different people and may require different treatments.
The current edition of the DSM, the fifth edition, is an update that makes major changes from previous editions. Major changes include the addition of a clinical significance criterion, which requires symptoms to have a significant impact on a person's ability to function in important areas of their life. In addition, the number of categories in each disorder was lowered and more specific language was used.
To help create accurate diagnoses, the DSM includes descriptions of signs and symptoms, prognostic factors, and related disorders. There's also a comprehensive explanatory text for each disorder. Ultimately, however, your doctor will be responsible for determining the actual diagnosis.
DSM-5 is a highly technical book, which makes it difficult for an average person to understand its content. To aid in this process, the manual has been updated with an electronic version that includes full references to each text.