DSM Gets a Makeover

One of the most influential mental health texts used by modern professionals is the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, blessedly shortened by most to DSM. The last edition of the text, the so-called DSM-IV, has served as a basis for diagnosing, understanding, and treating the full scope of psychological syndromes for over 14 years, and authorities have decided that it’s time to give the old book a new life. The need for fresh, relevant material is clear; if therapists and other mental health professionals are to deliver the quality of care their clients need, there must be a reliable and up-to-date foundation for describing common issues.

The DSM-V will be in production over the next 18 months, involving a massive and widespread operation aimed at giving careful consideration to the modern body of knowledge surrounding psychological and medical issues. Many industry workers and academics are excited about the revamping, noting that the new edition is rumored to be more scientifically rigorous and far-reaching than the current text. New knowledge ideas that touch upon a wide range of syndromes, development, and treatment will be included when the DSM-V is released, allowing the psychotherapy community to offer their services and perform their research with invigoration and a cutting-edge angle on progress in the field.

Organizers have declared that the new edition will allow for more accessible information, discussing problems experienced at all levels rather than being limited to the most outstanding or severe instances. This shift to a more authoritative and applicable collection of data will allow professionals to make informed decisions and expand their understanding of mental health. The hope is also present that a classification system which recognizes how people can experience a particular diagnostic syndrome anywhere along a wide spectrum, from less extreme to more, will pave the way for changes in insurance reimbursement policies allowing for more diagnostic codes to be covered by health insurance. The new DSM will not be released until May 2013; let’s hope it’s well worth the wait.

© Copyright 2009 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • Karenna


    June 5th, 2009 at 11:49 AM

    Wow I never realized the amount of time that it would take to revise and publish something new. Hope this proves to be groundbreaking and worth all of the wait!

  • Nicole


    June 7th, 2009 at 1:44 PM

    Sounds wonderful! Can’t wait to hear more about it

  • Kendall


    June 7th, 2009 at 4:58 PM

    Hopefully a more concise version will allow doctors to make more accurate diagnoses in the future.

  • Amanda


    June 8th, 2009 at 3:01 AM

    Long wait for the newer version of this text. Hope this will help many in the therapy field

  • Jon


    June 11th, 2009 at 3:39 AM

    For years I have seen these thick manuals in the offices of doctors and wondered what all was inside there. Evidently quite a bit to take this long to revise. But hey whatever gives me access to better ehalthcare and understanding is OK by me.

  • Chelsea


    June 16th, 2009 at 2:53 PM

    I too would love more info when this comes out. Wish it was available to all of us.

  • Matt


    June 28th, 2009 at 6:58 AM

    Wow, its about time the DSM got revised! I’ve used the DSM IV for a report in a psych class 6 years ago, and even then it was pre-historic. ~2.5 years to get released? Yeeeesh! But at least it will finally come into the 22nd century!

  • cool


    July 5th, 2009 at 8:15 PM


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