DSM IV stands for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and is a manual published by the American Psychiatric Association which includes all recognised health disorders. Its coding system corresponds with codes from the International Codification of Disease, also known as ICD. This important book includes a large variety of mental disorders from retardation to eating disorders, so it’s an important standard classification of mental disorders used by many health professionals in the United States. This manual is also used by researchers and clinicians that work in psychodynamic, behavioural, interpersonal or biological systems and is also used across clinical settings such as consultation-liaison, clinic, private practice, as well as primary care and partial hospital. Additionally, it’s also useful for social workers, nurses, counselors, physicians, psychologists, but also for occupational and rehabilitation therapists. The manual is divided into three main parts, including the diagnostic classification, the diagnostic criteria sets, as well as the descriptive text.
Its first part, called the diagnostic classification, includes a long list with the mental disorders that are officially part of the DSM system. Making a diagnosis means that a specialist has to select a certain disorder that reflects the symptoms and signs that are found in an individual. Each diagnostic label is associated with a diagnostic code that is used by institutions for billing and data collection. The second part, the diagnostic criteria sets refers to a set of criteria that indicate which symptoms are present for each disorder, but also what symptoms and disorders must not be present. This way, it’s easier and more reliable to diagnose someone, but these criteria are only guidelines.
The third part of the DSM IV manual is called the descriptive text and is related to each disorder, describing and explaining each mental disease, including various headlines such as Diagnostic Features”; “Subtypes and/or Specifiers”; “Recording Procedures”; “Associated Features and Disorders”; “Specific Culture, Age, and Gender Features”; “Prevalence”; “Course”; “Familial Pattern”; and “Differential Diagnosis.” Diagnostic Features”; “Subtypes and/or Specifiers”; “Recording Procedures”; “Associated Features and Disorders”; “Specific Culture, Age, and Gender Features”; “Prevalence”; “Course”; “Familial Pattern”; and “Differential Diagnosis.” DSM IV is also useful for those people who have someone in their family who suffers from a mental or personality disorder and they want to find out how to behave when they spend time together. Plus, by reading this interesting book, they will be able to understand what is going on with someone who has such a problem.