Controversies Surrounding Classification of Disorders Essay examples

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Controversies Surrounding Classification

Theories of Psychopathology


March 25, 2012


The DSM is used as a standard of reference for psychological diagnosis. The DSM was originally published in 1952 containing only 106 diagnoses; today the revised DSM-IV-TR contains 365 diagnoses. Throughout the history of the DSM, individuals in the mental health profession have relied on it for clarification of disorders, facilitating research, improving communication with other professionals and improving the collection of clinical information. With a new DSM-V underway, there has been a lot of issues surrounding the contents and classifications of the new DSM. There are
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The third major issue related to classifications of mental disorders is defining the term “mental disorder.” It is important to differentiate between normal distress and an actual disorder, thus a thorough and accurate definition of mental disorder is needed. According to the DSM-IV-TR (APA, 2000), a mental disorder is a clinically significant behavioral or psychological syndrome or pattern that occurs in an individual and is associated with present distress or disability or with a significantly increased risk of suffering death, pain, disability or an important loss of freedom. The DSM admits that this definition lacks a significant operational definition that covers all situations. The fourth major issue related to classifications of mental disorders is the recent DSMs have become atheoretical. The DSM-I and DSM-II were written when the psychoanalytic theory was the major theory, thus the DSM was modeled after it. As the DSM-III began to come about, there was an emergence between biological and psychoanalytic explanations of mental disorders, so the DSM-III was neutral in order for it to be accessible to all mental health professionals. The neutral theme of the DSM has been kept within the later DSMs as well, however most writers agree that the theoretical model associated with the DSM is biological. The final