Wednesday, July 20, 2011

FYI - What is a DSM?

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)

DSM is a Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, published by the American Psychiatric Association. It is the method used to classify and diagnose mental disorders in the United States.

In 1952 when it was first published the DSM only contained 66 disorders, in 1968 the disorders listed in the manual grew to over 100 hundred along with its second edition.

The third edition came in 1979 which in it was introduced an Axis system of 5 scales.

Example: A mental illness might fall under Axis I

Axis I - Clinical Disorders
Axis II - Personality Disorders & Mental Retardation
Axis III - General Medical Conditions
Axis IV - Psychosocial & Environmental Problems (stressors)
Axis V - Global Assessment of Functioning


  1. ok this is interesting... sometimes when people read the DSM... or really any book with medical diagnoses, it's easy to see themselves inside of every disease. There is actually a term, "intern syndrome." When therapists and psychiatrists are training and they are first learning the DSM, there is a period when many are diagnosing themselves in each disease. So.. lesson is.. many of the diseases are really diagnosed by seeing the indicators of a person in relations to a broad spectrum of people. Don't make yourself paranoid!

  2. Great comment, Cori! Thank you for adding information worth noting to my post, I really appreciatie it.

  3. I remember when I was in nursing school, our whole class was sure that we had this or that disease. The same was true when we took our mental health class. The thing is, a person may have one or two characteristics occasionally of a disorder, but do not have the disorder. I am convinced I have characteristics of OCD (really, it should be CDO) and of BiPolar disorders, but not enough to be diagnosed with either of them. Your post was a good refresher for me. Thanks. Following you from your post on Blog Frog. Would love you to stop by and visit me @ Life or Something Like It.

  4. Becky, thank you for commenting and sharing your knowledge on my blog.:)


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