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The DSM (Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders) is manual that has the standard criteria for classifying mental disorders and is used in the United States by health professionals. Its relied upon by psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, nurses, therapists, counselors, researchers, pharmaceutical companies, health insurance companies, legal systems, and policy maker. Psychologists look through the DSM, which acts as a guide and decide what the patient is suffering from (Treatment Companion to the DSM-IV-TR Casebook, 2004). Each diagnosis in the DSM is usually given a number to help separate it and speed up referencing. Psychologists often listen to the symptoms of a patient and further proceeds to the DSM and opens the section he thinks from the constellation is likely to be related. The group of symptoms shown by the client is what is referred to as a constellation and each symptom in the constellation is called a star. From the section, the psychologist eliminates the options he has until he comes up with the final condition and with that he recommends the necessary medication.

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A personality disorder is a condition where the thoughts, perceptions, feelings and relations with other people in human change and differs from that of an average person. Schizophrenia is a condition that mostly occurs in late adolescence and early adulthood. Its a mental illness that makes it hard for a person to differentiate between what is real and what is imagined. Its characterized mainly by delusions, hallucinations or thought disorders. Anxiety disorder is a mental condition that is characterized by prolonged irrational worry or fear. Mood disorder is a condition that involves changes in moods, depression or bipolar disorder (Ashley, 2014). Bipolar disorder is a situation where the moods, energy and behavior of a person change remarkably, and the condition may last for a long time. Since those disorders are quite similar, the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders has a way of distinguishing them to ensure that patients do not receive the wrong medication. Personality disorders are classified as common axis 2 disorders while anxiety disorders, mood, and schizophrenia are categorized under common axis 1 disorder in the DSM. Common Axis 1 disorders can be cured if vigorous treatment is applied since they are learning and developmental disorders. Axis 1 disorders are easy to diagnose too. On the other hand common axis 2 disorders are more permanent since they arise from childhood becoming part of life for a patient and so its very hard to diagnose and treat them.

There are many so many differences between DSM IV and DSM V and some of them have been explained below. In DSM-V the term General medical condition as used in DSM-IV has been changed to another medical condition across all disorders. Unlike the previous order in DSM-IV, the diagnoses in DSM-V have been listed in order from those that are made in early childhood than those made in adolescence and finally those diagnoses made in adulthood. Due to changes in how clinicians view deficits in IQ and adaptive functions the term mental retardation in DSM-IV has been modified to intellectual disability. The adaptive function is also being used instead of IQ to rate the level of severity (Livesley, 1995). The Autism Spectrum Disorder, which is very common in the mental health community, has now been expanded to encompass Autistic Disorders, Aspergers Disorder, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder and Pervasive Development Disorder which were previously separate. The subtypes such as paranoid type and disorganized type in the diagnosis of schizophrenia in DSM-IV have changed to become more specific in DSM-V and now include at least one positive symptom of schizophrenia for instance delusions, hallucinations and disorganized speech.

Under bipolar disorders in the depressive disorder category, there was an addition of Disruptive Mood Dysregulation and can now be diagnosed in children up to the age of 18 in an attempt to remedy concerns of the American psychiatric association 2013 that there were overdiagnosis and treatment of bipolar disorder in children (Spitzer, 2002). The Bereavement Exclusion in DSM-IV has been deleted in DSM-V under the category of depression and for that reason, DSM-V does not differentiate between loss of a loved one and other stressors that cause the Major Depressive Disorder.

To differentiate Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from other anxiety disorders, OCD and PTSD have been moved to a new section. In the new section, new diagnoses have been added under OCD such as Excoriation Disorder, Hoarding disorder, substance or medication induced OCD and OCD due to another medical condition. To describe the level of insight an individual has to their symptoms a specifier has been added to this section.

Some notable minor differences between DSM IV and DSM V are explained in this paragraph. The diagnoses of jetlag found in DSM-IV have been removed in DSM V. Due to ongoing research; gambling disorder has been added to the section of substance abuse disorders. Current, accurate data and investigations on gender-related a mental health issue has led to some changes in the Gender Dysphoria Section.

The DSM has had its supporters over the years and at the same time it has had to deal with criticism from people who had a different opinion about it. Since was first publication in 1952 it has made changes aimed at improving the classification of mental disorders and even with todays DSM-IV it is making amendments to ensure people get the right diagnoses and treatments.


BIBLIOGRAPHY \l 1033 Ashley, M. A. (2014, January). Patheways Home Inc: Embrace Recovery. Retrieved December 12, 2015, from A Closer look at the major changes in the DSM 5:

Livesley, W. J. (1995). The DSM-IV personality disorders. New York: Guilford Press.

Spitzer, R. L. (2002). DSM-IV-TR Casebook: A learning companion to the Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Pub.

Treatment Companion to the DSM-IV-TR Casebook. (2004). Washington: American Psychiatric association.

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