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

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  • Essay length: 1031 words
  • Submitted: 18/03/2004
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University Degree Clinical Psychology

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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. It is also a necessary tool for collecting and communicating accurate public health statistics. The DSM consists of three major components: the diagnostic classification, the diagnostic criteria sets,

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