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Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders

Diagnostic and Statistical
Manual of Mental Disorders

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR) is published by the American Psychiatric Association. It is the standard classification of mental problems/disorders used by mental health professionals in the United States.

What is the DSM-IV-TR


The American Psychiatric Association DSM has gone though five revisions (II, III, III-R, IV, IV-TR) since it was first published in 1952. The next version will be the DSM V, due in approximately 2011. The International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD) is a commonly-used alternative, especially by the medical professions.

The most recent version, the DSM-IV-TR was the last major revision of the DSM. It was the culmination of a six-year effort that involved over 1000 individuals and numerous professional organizations. Much of the effort involved conducting a comprehensive review of the literature to establish a firm empirical basis for making modifications. Numerous changes were made to the classification (i.e., disorders were added, deleted, and reorganized), to the diagnostic criteria sets, and to the descriptive text based on a careful consideration of the available research about the various mental disorders.

The DSM was initially developed to give more objective terms to the fields of psychiatry and psychology. Users are reminded that the manual is, to an extent, an historical document and the science used to create categories, taxonomies, and diagnoses is based on statistical models. These systems are thus subject to the limitations of the methods used to create them.

The DSM is intended for use by mental health professionals and for use in research and administration. Appropriate use of the diagnostic criteria is said to require clinical training, and its contents cannot, and should not, be applied in a cookbook fashion. The diagnostic labels are primarily for use as convenient shorthand for professionals. The range and breadth of the DSM represents an extensive scope.

In the United States, health insurance typically will not pay for psychological or psychiatric services unless a DSM-IV mental disease diagnosis accompanies the insurance claim. All physician services in the United States require an ICD code for health insurance payments.

Additional Information

More information about the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR) is available from the websites below.

 Psyweb: DSM-IV
 Psychnet: DSM-IV index
 Wikipedia regarding DSM-IV
 Behavenet.com: DSM-IV classification

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