Abnormal Psychology: Mental Health and Mental Illness

Definitions and Classifications

What changes will be made in DSM-V?

DSM-V is scheduled to come out in 2013. However, in early 2010, the American Psychiatric Association published their proposed revisions in order to solicit comments from readers on these changes. Along with changes to the criteria and classification of specific diagnoses, some very general changes were also proposed. For one, the first three axes of the five-axis diagnostic system will be collapsed into one axis. In DSM-IV, axis I is for clinical syndromes, axis II for personality disorders and mental retardation, and axis III for medical disorders that might be relevant to the mental condition. In DSM-V, that will all be coded on one line. Also DSM-V puts much more emphasis on dimensional ratings than any previous DSM edition. In other words clinicians will rate patients in terms of the severity of various clinical traits (such as depression, anxiety, etc), and not just categorize them as either having or not having a particular disorder. Diagnostic categories will be retained in DSM-V, but there will be more room for dimensional ratings. Because the DSM-V system has yet to be finalized, we will focus here on the diagnostic system of DSM-IV and DSM-IV-TR.


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