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What Does DSM-5 Mean?


The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders—or “DSM,” as it is generally called—is the authoritative guide to the diagnosis of substance use and other mental disorders for healthcare professionals worldwide. In the United States alone, it influences the care that millions of people of all ages receive for mental health issues.


Clinicians use DSM to accurately and consistently diagnose disorders affecting mood, personality, identity, cognition, and more. The manual does not address treatment or medications. Published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), DSM has been updated several times since its first release in 1952. It standardizes diagnoses by psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, nurses, and other health and mental health professionals, but it also informs research, public health policy, education, reimbursement systems, and forensic science.


DSM-5, which will be the first full revision since 1994, represents the contributions of more than 1,500 distinguished mental health and medical experts worldwide as part of an extensive and rigorous development process. It was published in May 2013.


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