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Diagnosing Mental Illness: How DSM-5 Will Change the Rules


Salamon-053112-Taxonomy

Despite questions of reliability and validity, the DSM has always been useful for research purposes. It provides a basis for classification of disorders and allows for the monitoring of interventions over time. An empirical approach to diagnosis sets clear parameters by which patients’ diagnoses can be understood and treatment guidelines established. Because this is a scientific process, it will always proceed further. About 10 years after the DSM-5 is introduced, a DSM-6 will inevitably be proposed. But the most significant question for those who use the DSM to diagnose and treat individuals will be more about how to make it fit the needs of insurance paperwork more than about how a diagnosis precisely fits any individual patient.

Dr. Michael Salamon, a fellow of the American Psychological Association, is the founder and director of ADC Psychological Services in New York. He is the author of numerous articles, several psychological tests and books including “The Shidduch Crisis: Causes and Cures” (Urim Publications) and “Every Pot Has a Cover” (University Press of America). His newest book is called “Abuse in the Jewish Community: Religious and Communal Factors that Undermine the Apprehension of Offenders and the Treatment of Victims.”

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Salamon-053112-Taxonomy

Mental health specialists tend to speak about their patients according to a classification referred to as the DSM, which stands for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. This classification system was first published in 1952 by the American Psychiatric Association as a method to classify mental disorders and develop a statistical baseline through which disorders can be understood, studied and treated. It is not the only classification system available.

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