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Development of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders

Posted on:3/24/2006
The DSM was initally developed to give more objective terms to the field of psychiatry. Previous to the DSM communication between psychiatrists was not uniform.



The DSM was initally developed to give more objective terms to the field of psychiatry. Previous to the DSM communication between psychiatrists was not uniform. The establishment of specific criteria was also an attempt to facilitate mental health research. The multiaxial system attempts to yield a more complete picture of the patient, rather than just a simple diagnosis.

The criteria and classification system of the DSM are based on a process of consultation and committee meetings involving primarily psychiatrists. Therefore, the content of the DSM does not reflect all opinions on the subject of psychopathology, emotional distress and social functioning. Nor are there any objective, biological verifiable standards to which it adheres. The criteria, and the way they are applied by individual clinicians are at least to some extent influenced by cultural variables and are periodically altered to reflect the contemporary social landscape. What is and what is not considered a mental disorder changes over time. For example, prior to a psychiatric plebiscite in 1973, homosexuality was listed in the DSM as a diagnosable mental illness. (All conditions entered in the ever-expanding DSM-IV are considered to be mental illnesses. Far more conditions are added than are deleted.) It is also known that the diagnosis of some mental disorders is influenced by gender role expectations. That is, while diagnostic criteria do not mention gender, clinicians diagnose women's and men's behaviour in different ways.


 


  
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