Saturday, May 11, 2013

DSM-5: New mental disorders are approaching

The American Psychiatric Association will publish DSM-5, a new criterion of mental disorders, on May 2013.

DSM-5: The Future of Psychiatric Diagnosis

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is one of the most frequently used textbooks by mental health practitioners. Formerly, psychiatric diagnosis was criticized for its low reliability. Each psychiatrist tended to call the mental disorder's name differed from one another. With DSM, we can diagnose the patients precisely, at least the same as other psychiatrists do. In the US, medical insurance companies request for the psychiatrist to describe the diagnosis with DSM to compensate the medical cost. Now being familiar with DSM is essential for every psychiatrists.

DSM fourth edition (DSM-IV) was published in 1994 and minimally revised in 2000. APA was continuing to collect the data to revise DSM-IV into DSM-5 in the last decade. We, psychiatrists are also involved in it. Some academic associations presented unique criteria. Enormous discussion has performed. At last, we will see the moment of reborn of DSM.

Actually, DSM is not an invincible tool for the diagnosis. It resembles a recipe book. We can cook well with a good written recipe book. However, recipe book hardly describes the real taste. We do not know the real forms and causes of almost all mental disorders. DSM eases us to image them, but cannot help us to understand the core of any mental disorders.

Nonetheless, revision of DSM will change our clinical practice in psychiatry. If standard of a certain diagnosis is relaxed, the number of the patients with this diagnosis will be increased dramatically. Of course it does not mean that the some persons really get ill. However, this may influence on society, perhaps in political or financial context.

Some criticize APA that DSM is merely a business tool. Actually, all psychiatrists in the US must possess DSM textbook. Therefore, APA will gain a large amount of interests from a revision of  DSM. It resembles some computer software frequently updated.

We soon have to learn about DSM-5. It is a tough and confusing work, such as the introduction of Windows 8.

I expect DSM-5 will be an excellent tool for diagnosis, for the patients now suffering from mental disorders.


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