A very brief guide to the DSM

The British Journal of Psychiatry’s ‘100 words’ series continues with a very brief guide to the DSM psychiatric manual and its ongoing revision.

DSM is an American classification system that has dominated since 1980. It is disliked by many for reducing diagnostic skills to a cold list of operational criteria, yet embraced by researchers believing that it represents the first whiff of sense in an area of primitive dogma. It has almost foundered by confusing reliability with validity but the authors seem to recognise its errors and are hoping for rebirth in its 5th revision due in May 2013. The initials do not stand for Diagnosis as a Source of Money or Diagnosis for Simple Minds but the possibility of confusion is present.

I was very pleased to see that the British Journal of Psychiatry made quite clear that the DSM is an American invention.

The original British plans, of course, were to have psychiatric diagnoses based on measuring the stiffness of one’s upper lip – an objective and reliable approach that was sadly neglected.

Link to British Journal of Psychiatry’s DSM in 100 words.

8 thoughts on “A very brief guide to the DSM”

  1. To be fair, many researchers dislike the DSM too due to the simplification and rigidity of diagnostic criteria…

  2. you stated your nationalist view of the BMJ article

    what is your clinical view of the issues about making the dsm more useful

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