About DSM–5

Development of DSM–5

The new edition of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM–5) is the product of more than 10 years of effort by hundreds of international experts in all aspects of mental health. Their dedication and hard work have yielded an authoritative volume that defines and classifies mental disorders in order to improve diagnoses, treatment, and research.

Used by clinicians and researchers to diagnose and classify mental disorders, the criteria are concise and explicit, intended to facilitate an objective assessment of symptom presentations in a variety of clinical settings—inpatient, outpatient, partial hospital, consultation-liaison, clinical, private practice, and primary care.

New features and enhancements make DSM–5 easier to use across all settings. Learn more about some of the new organization and features of the DSM–5 and the diagnostic differences between DSM–IV–TR and DSM–5 below.

DSM consists of three major components: the diagnostic classification, the diagnostic criteria sets, and the descriptive text.

  • Diagnostic Classification

    The diagnostic classification is the official list of mental disorders recognized in DSM. Each diagnosis includes a diagnostic code, which is typically used by individual providers, institutions, and agencies for data collection and billing purposes. These diagnostic codes are derived from the coding system used by all U.S. health-care professionals, known as the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Edition, Clinical Modification (ICD-9-CM).

  • Diagnostic Criteria Sets

    For each disorder included in DSM, a set of diagnostic criteria indicates symptoms that must be present (and for how long) as well as a list of other symptoms, disorders, and conditions that must first be ruled out to qualify for a particular diagnosis. While these criteria help increase diagnostic reliability (i.e., the likelihood that two doctors would come up with the same diagnosis when using DSM to assess a patient), it is important to remember that these criteria are meant to be used by trained professionals using clinical judgment; they are not meant to be used by the general public in a cookbook fashion.

  • Descriptive Text

    The third area of DSM is the descriptive text that accompanies each disorder. The text of DSM–5 provides information about each disorder under the following headings:

    • Diagnostic Features
    • Associated Features Supporting Diagnosis
    • Subtypes and/or Specifiers
    • Prevalence
    • Development and Course
    • Risk and Prognostic Factors
    • Diagnostic Measures
    • Functional Consequences
    • Culture-Related Diagnostic Issues
    • Gender-Related Diagnostic Issues
    • Differential Diagnosis
    • Recording Procedures

History of the DSM

Learn more about the history of the manual.

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