guide to grouping mental disorders
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) (latest edition: the DSM-5, published in 2013) is a publication for the classification of mental disorders using a common language and standard criteria. It is published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and is used by clinicians, researchers, psychiatric drug regulation agencies, health insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, the legal system, and policy makers.
The DSM evolved from systems for collecting census and psychiatric hospital statistics and from a United States Army manual. Revisions since its first publication in 1952 have incrementally added to the total number of mental disorders, while removing those no longer considered to be mental disorders.
Recent editions of the DSM have received praise for standardizing psychiatric diagnosis grounded in empirical evidence, as opposed to the theory-bound nosology used in DSM-III; but it has also generated controversy and criticism. Criticisms include ongoing questions concerning the reliability and validity of many diagnoses; the use of arbitrary dividing lines between mental illness and "normality"; possible cultural bias; and the medicalization of human distress.
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