What is the DSM-V?

July 26, 2016
Solace Sabah

What is the DSM-V?*

This is the product of 10 years of effort by hundreds of international experts on all areas of mental health. It is an authoritative volume that defines and classifies mental disorders in order to improve diagnoses, treatment, and research. It is a huge improvement from the previous diagnostic tool called DSM-IV.

What is the DSM?

DSM stands for “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.” It is the standard classification of mental disorders used by mental health professionals in the United States and across the globe. It can be used for diagnostic purposes by mental health professionals such as psychiatrists, other physicians, psychologists, social workers, nurses, occupational and rehabilitation therapists; and counselors. The DSM is used in all clinical settings and by clinicians from every theoretical orientation. It is also used in researching, collecting, and communicating accurate public health statistics. There are three major components to every DSM:

i) Diagnostic Classification – This is a list of mental disorders, which are recognized by the DSM.

ii)  Diagnostic Criteria – Indicates symptoms of a particular disorder.

iii)  Descriptive Text – Details of the disorder from the diagnostic features to issues pertaining to; and procedures for; treating the illness.

New Features of the DSM-V (DSM-5)

There is much improvement within the DSM-V as compared to its previous counterpart. They are as follows:

A)     Cultural Enhancements

The DSM-5 has managed to bridge cross-cultural barriers to include idioms, expressions, and syndromes that are symptomatic of a particular cultural group. For example, the fear of   offending others as perceived in Japanese culture has been included to understand the culture, and could thus avoid instances of misdiagnoses due to a lack of separating cultural  norms from conditions of genuine mental illness. This makes the DSM-5 more reachable  and usable beyond Western settings, making it far more suited to global conditions as its perspective can cross boundaries of cultural diversity.  

B)     Updated Diagnoses for Children

It does not isolate diagnoses for children from other stages of development. This integrity has allowed clinicians to link childhood disorders on a continuum, which can still instruct mental disorders that are experienced well into adulthood. The prevalence of childhood disorders into later stages of life has changed the way DSM-5 has approached the  categorization of disorders from previous compartmentalization like children, teenagers, and adults. Instead, the content page of the DSM-5 lists disorders most prevalent to children first followed by disorders, whose prevalence are experienced by groups in later stages of  life such as teenagers and adults. Added to that, individual disorders, diagnostic  categories, and criteria were revised to include: working with parents, defining a diagnostic home, and developing a more precise criterion.

C)     Integrated Assessment

Previous DSMs were simply categorical repositories, requiring clinicians to determine the presence or absence of a disorder. This model has integrated a dimensional approach on top              of the prevailing categorizations of previous DSMs. It allows clinicians more latitude to assess the severity of a condition rather than determining a person is “normal” or “disordered”. It sees some disorders as sitting on a continuum/spectrum such as ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) and substance abuse disorder. This aids clinicians in attending to the acuteness of symptoms rather than identifying or defining individuals as having a disorder. It provides more insight to creating effective, dignifying (less stigmatic), and highly individualized treatment planning.

D)    Mixed Features Specifier

The mixed features specifier allows for more accuracy in the diagnoses of patients who may be suffering from concurrent symptoms of depression and mania/hypomania. This aids in            the tailoring of better treatment for individual needs more specifically and prevents misdiagnoses.

E)     Section III

Section III brings to the fore, content, which used to be placed in the appendices of previous DSMs. These include emerging measures and models to assist clinicians in evaluating their        patients. It contains assessment measures, guidance on cultural formulation, an alternative  model for diagnosing personality disorders; and conditions for further study.

F)     List of Updated Disorders

Below is a list of disorders, which have either been updated or added to DSM-5:

a)     Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

b)     Autism Spectrum Disorder

c)     Conduct Disorder

d)     Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder

e)     Eating Disorders

f)      Gender Dysphoria

g)     Intellectual Disability

h)     Internet Gaming Disorder

i)      Major Depressive Disorder and the Bereavement Exclusion

j)      Mild Neurocognitive Disorder

k)     Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders

l)      Paraphilic Disorders

m)   Personality Disorder

n)     Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

o)     Schizophrenia

p)     Sleep-Wake Disorders

q)     Specific Learning Disorder

r)      Social Communication Disorder

s)      Somatic Symptom Disorder

t)      Substance-Related and Addictive Disorders

The Solace Difference!

At Solace Sabah, we employ the latest in science and research to find the best means to treat you or your loved one. As our treatment philosophy is based on practicing EBT (Evidence Based Treatment), our clinicians use the DSM-V to keep true to the principles of valuing science and research above personal opinion when it comes to treating our patients. Rest assured you or your loved one will receive the benefits of being treated with the accuracy, professionalism, and pragmatism which only the latest in global mental health science can offer!

*The information in this article was taken from the American Psychiatric Association (APA) website: https://www.psychiatry.org/psychiatrists/practice/dsm

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