Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) is the standard classification of mental disorders used by mental health professionals in the United States. It is intended to be used in all clinical settings by clinicians of different theoretical orientations. It can be used by mental health and other health professionals, including psychiatrists and other physicians, psychologists, social workers, nurses, occupational and rehabilitation therapists, and counselors. DSM-5 can also be used for research in clinical and community populations. It is also a necessary tool for collecting and communicating accurate public-health statistics.
DSM consists of three major components: the diagnostic classification, the diagnostic criteria sets, and the descriptive text.
The diagnostic classification is the official list of mental disorders recognized in DSM. Each diagnosis includes a diagnostic code, which is typically used by individual providers, institutions, and agencies for data collection and billing purposes. These diagnostic codes are derived from the coding system used by all U.S. health-care professionals, known as the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Edition, Clinical Modification (ICD-9-CM).
For each disorder included in DSM, a set of diagnostic criteria indicates symptoms that must be present (and for how long) as well as a list of other symptoms, disorders, and conditions that must first be ruled out to qualify for a particular diagnosis. While these criteria help increase diagnostic reliability (i.e., the likelihood that two doctors would come up with the same diagnosis when using DSM to assess a patient), it is important to remember that these criteria are meant to be used by trained professionals using clinical judgment; they are not meant to be used by the general public in a cookbook fashion.
The third area of DSM is the descriptive text that accompanies each disorder. The text of DSM-5 provides information about each disorder under the following headings:
- Diagnostic Features
- Associated Features Supporting Diagnosis
- Subtypes and/or Specifiers
- Development and Course
- Risk and Prognostic Factors
- Diagnostic Measures
- Functional Consequences
- Culture-Related Diagnostic Issues
- Gender-Related Diagnostic Issues
- Differential Diagnosis
- Recording Procedures
Learn more about the history of the manual
Visit the DSM-5 website to find information about the development and status of the fifth edition. The site contains a detailed summary of the events and individuals involved in the revision process as well as updates and corrections (e.g., changes in coding) to the published manual.
Contact us at DSM5@psych.org for questions, comments, or suggestions.