What is the DSM-V?

October 4, 2021
Solace Asia

What is the DSM-V?*

This is the product of 10
years of effort by hundreds of international experts on all areas of mental
health. It is an authoritative volume that defines and classifies mental
disorders in order to improve diagnoses, treatment, and research. It is a huge improvement
from the previous diagnostic tool called DSM-IV.

What is the DSM?

DSM stands for “Diagnostic
and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.” It is the standard classification
of mental disorders used by mental health professionals in the United States
and across the globe. It can be used for diagnostic purposes by mental health
professionals such as psychiatrists, other physicians, psychologists, social
workers, nurses, occupational and rehabilitation therapists; and counselors. The
DSM is used in all clinical settings and by clinicians from every theoretical
orientation. It is also used in researching, collecting, and communicating
accurate public health statistics. There are three major components to every

i) Diagnostic
Classification – This is a list of mental disorders, which are recognized by
the DSM.

ii)  Diagnostic
Criteria – Indicates symptoms of a particular disorder.

iii)  Descriptive Text
– Details of the disorder from the diagnostic features to issues pertaining to;
and procedures for; treating the illness.

New Features of the DSM-V (DSM-5)

There is much improvement
within the DSM-V as compared to its previous counterpart. They are as follows:


The DSM-5 has managed to bridge cross-cultural
barriers to include idioms, expressions, and syndromes
that are symptomatic of a particular cultural group. For example, the fear of   offending others as perceived in Japanese
culture has been included to understand the culture,
and could thus avoid instances of misdiagnoses due to a lack of separating
cultural  norms from conditions of
genuine mental illness. This makes the DSM-5 more reachable  and usable
beyond Western settings, making it far more suited to global conditions as its perspective can cross boundaries of
cultural diversity.  


It does not isolate diagnoses for children from
other stages of development. This integrity has
allowed clinicians to link childhood disorders on a continuum, which can still
instruct mental disorders that are
experienced well into adulthood. The prevalence of childhood disorders into later stages of
life has changed the way DSM-5 has approached the  categorization of disorders from previous compartmentalization
like children, teenagers, and
adults. Instead, the content page of the DSM-5 lists disorders most prevalent
to children first followed by
disorders, whose prevalence are experienced by groups in later stages of  life such as teenagers and adults. Added to
that, individual disorders, diagnostic  categories, and criteria were revised to include:
working with parents, defining a diagnostic home,
and developing a more precise


Previous DSMs were simply categorical repositories,
requiring clinicians to determine the presence
or absence of a disorder. This model has integrated a dimensional approach on
top              of the prevailing
categorizations of previous DSMs. It allows clinicians more latitude to assess the severity of a condition rather
than determining a person is “normal” or “disordered”.
It sees some disorders as sitting on a continuum/spectrum such as ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) and
substance abuse disorder. This aids clinicians in attending to the acuteness of symptoms rather
than identifying or defining individuals as having a disorder. It provides more insight to creating
effective, dignifying (less stigmatic), and highly
individualized treatment planning.


The mixed features specifier allows for more
accuracy in the diagnoses of patients who may be
suffering from concurrent symptoms of depression and mania/hypomania. This aids
in            the tailoring of better
treatment for individual needs more specifically and prevents misdiagnoses.


Section III brings to the fore, content, which used
to be placed in the appendices of previous DSMs.
These include emerging measures and models to assist clinicians in evaluating
their        patients. It contains
assessment measures, guidance on cultural formulation, an alternative  model for diagnosing personality
disorders; and conditions for further study.


Below is a list of disorders, which have either
been updated or added to DSM-5:

Disorder (ADHD)

Autism Spectrum

Conduct Disorder

Disruptive Mood
Dysregulation Disorder

Eating Disorders

Gender Dysphoria

Intellectual Disability

Internet Gaming

Major Depressive
Disorder and the Bereavement Exclusion

Neurocognitive Disorder

and Related Disorders



Stress Disorder (PTSD)



Specific Learning

Communication Disorder

Somatic Symptom

and Addictive Disorders

The Solace Difference!

At Solace Sabah, we employ
the latest in science and research to find the best means to treat you or your
loved one. As our treatment philosophy is based on practicing EBT (Evidence
Based Treatment), our clinicians use the DSM-V to keep true to the principles
of valuing science and research above personal opinion when it comes to
treating our patients. Rest assured you or your loved one will receive the
benefits of being treated with the accuracy, professionalism, and pragmatism which
only the latest in global mental health science can offer!

*The information in this article was taken from the
American Psychiatric Association (APA) website: https://www.psychiatry.org/psychiatrists/practice/dsm

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