The Undeniable Role of the DSM–5 in Disorder Diagnosis

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM–5) is a diagnostic tool that’s published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA). The latest version—published in May 2013—is the product of over a decade’s work, and includes several new features and enhancements that have made it even easier to use in clinical settings. It has also made it easier for trained professionals to classify, diagnose, and treat mental disorders.

Why Is It So Important?

DSM–5 is used by healthcare professionals all across the US, as well as in other parts of the world, as a standard handbook for the classification of mental disorders.

It contains various descriptions, symptoms, and other diagnostic criteria that are needed to identify and determine a mental disorder. In doing so, DSM–5 provides clinicians with a universal language to communicate in, giving them the opportunity to arrive at reliable, consistent, and conclusive diagnoses.

This, in turn, sets the ground for researchers to further study the diagnostic handbook and add revisions (if required) for devising strategies and interventions.

How Does DSM-5 Help with Diagnostic Classification?

The diagnostic classification refers to the list of mental disorders that are officially recognized in the manual. Each diagnosis is aided with its own individual diagnostic code.

This code is used for collecting data, as well as for billing purposes, and is especially useful for individual healthcare providers and institutions. The diagnostic codes are derived from the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-9-CM), which is the standard coding system used across the country.


How Are DSM-5 and IDC Linked Together?

APA’s DSM–5 and the World Health Organization’s ICD are used alongside for an accurate diagnosis. They’re often referred to as companion publications, owing to the fact that they’re used together for reaching a diagnosis.

The DSM–5 includes the latest diagnostic criteria for mental disorders. It also includes extensive descriptions to make it easier for clinicians to interpret their patients’ symptoms and evaluate their condition.

The ICD, in turn, includes the codes used in the DSM–5. It’s used by health agencies for obtaining mortality and morbidity statistics, as well as for insurance reimbursement purposes. In fact, the APA works closely with members of the WHO to ensure that the two diagnostic tools are compatible.

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