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DSM is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders available by the American Psychiatric Association. It is the main system that is used to grade and identify mental disorders in the United States. The first DSM was published in 1952. In the first edition the DSM had only 66 disorders and the symptoms of each disorder were short-listed. The second edition of the DSM, which was published in 1968, contained over 100 disorders. The third edition of the Manual published in 1979 initiated a multi-axial diagnostic method of five axis that permitted for a more in depth diagnosis, considering various phases of a patient’s life.

DSM-IV is the fourth and the present edition of the manual published in 1994, which is now in use, this edition has more than 400 disorders listed in it. The clinical effectiveness of the DSM-IV is much greater than a device for making diagnosis. Psychologists and physicians use it as a manual for exchanging a few words about psychological health conditions. When two psychologists discuss about a particular diagnosis such as “major depressive disorder, single episode, severe with psychotic features,” they both will be having the same concept of a range of aspects of the illness.

Both the psychologists might have very unlike opinions of the same condition without the DSM-IV. The DSM-IV also allows the psychological professionals to reach an agreement on which symptoms should describe which disorders. These decisions are found on experimental evidence or research, which is usually carried out by multidisciplinary personnel of experts. The DSM-IV could be used in the field of education and also for conducting different types of researches. The DSM-IV is helpful in classifying conditions or disorders that people have, it is not used to classify people.

There is a false notion that a diagnosis is done only to label a person with a particular disorder. Some people may feel bad to be labeled with a particular disorder, and may lose hope. While some people will be happy that there is a name to the symptoms they are experiencing. This knowledge gives them strength and a feeling of hope to attain power over the illness, as the way the treatment is carried out, the reason and the outcome of the treatment can be known beforehand. The DSM-IV uses the multi-axial classification system, which has the following axis

Axis I – Clinical Disorders, these are diagnosed as, depression, schizophrenia and social phobia. Axis II – Personality Disorders & Mental Retardation. Mental disorders comprise of mental retardation and autism, these disorders are first seen in the childhood of a person. Personality disorders are clinical disorders, whose symptoms last for a long time and include the way a person interacts with others. These disorders include suspicious, harmful, and medium personality disorders. Axis III – Physical Conditions, which play a major function in the development, maintenance, or severity of Axis I and II Disorders.

Physical conditions of a person with HIV/AIDS or brain injury that indicates mental illness are included in this axis. Axis IV – Psychosocial & Environmental Problems (stressors). Any event, which causes stress and tension in a person’s life, such as starting college, death of a dear one, starting a new job, being without a job, and marriage can force the disorders in Axis I and II. The fourth axis consists of all these events. Axis V – Level of Functioning. On the fifth axis, the psychologist studies the person’s level of functioning in the present and in the past within the preceding year.

This gives the psychologist a clear idea of how the other four axis affect the person, and what changes to expect. This manual is used by professionals in Psychology to have a better understanding of the illness, the treatment to be done, and to have a clear understanding of the patients needs, when working with him. This manual is also helpful in covering the finances of a patient, regarding the payment of medical insurance and bills etc. This book is widely used in the United States and other countries by professionals who make psychiatric analysis. Most of the required information regarding diagnosis is taken from the DSM-IV.

The DSM-IV also enhanced its diagnostic neutrality by adding models outlining important features of disorders, which directs psychologists through different sets of questions concerning the presence or lack of symptoms. The manual was updated with the recent statistics and most recent findings in research in June 2000. All the information regarding psychological health disorders in adults and children are covered in this manual. The manual also lists all the causes regarding these disorders, the related statistics like gender, age etc, and forecasts as well as some studies relating to the most favorable treatments, which can be undertaken.

Works Cited Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV), Psychiatric Disorders, 11 May 2007, ;http://medicine. jrank. org/pages/466/Diagnostic-Statistical-Manual-Mental-Disorders-IV. html;. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – Fourth Edition, All About Depression, 11 May 2007, ;http://www. allaboutdepression. com/dia_01. html;. Kimberly Read, Marcia Purse, What is the DSM-IV, About: Bipolar Disorder, 11 May 2007, ; http://bipolar. about. com/cs/faqs/f/faq_dsm. htm;.

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