• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Strengths and Weaknesses of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

DSM-IV: Strengths and Weaknesses The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is currently the most frequently used way of standardizing and defining psychological disorders. However, the classification systems such as DSM have advantages and disadvantages. The major weakness of DSM is that it judges symptoms superficially and ignores other possible important factors. The major strength of DSM is that it enables categorization of psychological disorders. The first edition of DSM was published in 1952 by the American Psychiatric Association (American Psychiatric Association, 2003). Both the first and second editions had numerous categories for diagnosing based on unsubstantiated assumptions. DSM is presently in it is fourth edition which provides a "compact encapsulated description of each disorder" with a strong empirical base (American Psychiatric Association, 2003). DSM-IV has been designed for use across settings--inpatient, outpatient, partial hospital, consultation-liaison, clinic, private practice, and primary care, and with community populations and by psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, nurses, occupational and rehabilitation therapists, counselors, and other health and mental health professionals. ...read more.

Middle

This was done by formulating new categories, which are more in depth and ask appropriate questions. DSM-IV has a broad list of categories as well as symptoms that indicate what must and must not be present for the appropriate disorder to be diagnosed (Atkinson, Atkinson, Smith, Bem, & Nolen-Hoeksema, 1996). Since the cause the majority of psychological disorders is unknown, DSM is an essential tool for diagnosis. However, limitations arise with the DSM model. A weakness may occur as each edition reflects a consensus of opinions at the time of publication. Another weakness that can occur may be labeling. This may cause people to overlook the uniqueness of each individual's features and expect them to conform to particular classifications of their disorder (Atkinson, Atkinson, Smith, Bem, & Nolen-Hoeksema, 1996). Each individual is assed on five separate axes. The first axis has 15 diagnostic categories that are extremely structured, with specific sub categories such as mood disorders, specifically depression. The following axes assess their personality, physical being, possible traumatic or other events and their social and occupational functioning (Atkinson, Atkinson, Smith, Bem, & Nolen-Hoeksema, 1996). ...read more.

Conclusion

This may result in a possible gender bias. Another possible bias includes people's cultures, which may accept certain symptoms as normative (Gray, 2002). For example, it is believed that males experience greater occurrence rates to paranoid, antisocial, and obsessive-compulsive disorders (Nathan, & Langenbucher, 1999). While females experience considerably greater rates to psychological eating disorders, such as bulimia and anorexia (eMedine). Finally, every proposed diagnosis carries the risk of being a false positive diagnosis (American Psychiatric Association, 2003). This means that the individual does not have the disorder, although have been diagnosed with it. Since these false positive diagnoses can never be totally eliminated, it is important to try to balance the advantages of a diagnosis, which may find a treatable disorder, reducing risks to the patient, family and society. To the disadvantages of an incorrect diagnosis which could cause stigmatism and costly treatment (American Psychiatric Association, 2003). Clearly, although both strengths and weaknesses are present in DSM, unfortunately it is inevitable. Moreover, there appears to be more weaknesses than strengths despite revisions. However, continuing revisions of DSM will ensure an effective and reliable way to classify mental disorders if continued to be based on more readily available scientific data. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Clinical Psychology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree Clinical Psychology essays

  1. Schizophrenia: Introduction and Overview

    Some investigators believe that the disease process of schizophrenia begins prenatally, lies dormant until puberty, and then causes a period of neural degeneration that causes the symptoms to appear, suggesting that the symptoms may either appear suddenly or evolve gradually, and men tend to have more severe symptoms and a more difficult time with the effects of schizophrenia than women.

  2. Free essay

    What are the key elements of a psychological assessment for a mental health problem?"

    This means that the answer the client gives to one question will determine the later questions the interviewer will ask. This has the advantage of being both replicable and able to obtain rich and informative answers, as although it is structured and pre-planned, there is also the opportunity to probe further into some answers where elaboration would aid the diagnosis.

  1. Explanations of Eating Disorders.

    * Cross-cultural studies seem to support the behavioural explanation. Anorexia and bulimia are more prevalent in industrialised societies like Europe, USA, Canada, and Australia etc.

  2. Cocaine Addiction: Literature Review, Modalities, and Improved Treatment Plan

    the diagnosis and treatment (eg, difficulty in communicating in the individual's first language, in eliciting symptoms or understanding their cultural significance, in negotiating an appropriate relationship or level of intimacy, in determining whether a behavior is normative or pathological)" (p.28).

  1. Compare and contrast the two sleep disorders REM sleep behavioural disorder and sleep walking.

    Rather, parasomnias represent the activation of physiological systems at inappropriate times during the sleep-wake cycle. This could involve, for example, activation of the autonomic nervous system, motor system, or cognitive processes during sleep or sleep-wake transitions (Bear et al., 1996).

  2. Animal research is irrelevant to our understanding of human mental health. Discuss.

    Given the biological affinity between humans and animals, it is unsurprising that animal research plays a major role in investigating the biological bases of behaviour in human mood disorders. During an experiment involving mice to test the efficacy of ADMs in treating depression and anxiety, Santarelli et al.

  1. Why is the initial consultation so important? What factors will an ethical hypnotherapist ...

    Once welcomed in to the therapy room the process of fact finding can begin, this is a reciprocal process with both wanting answers to the many necessary questions they have.

  2. POSSIBLE CAUSES OF SCHIZOPHRENIA: NATURE VS NURTURE. The causes of schizophrenia have been ...

    the size of medial temporal lobe structures, such as amygdala and hippocampus (Sobell, Mikesell & McMurray, 2002). Most studies which are conducted by using these techniques also demonstrate that changes in activity of prefrontal cortex is observed during cognitive activation tasks and working memory.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work