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The DSM-5: hyperbole, hope or hypothesis?

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journal contribution
posted on 2013-05-14, 00:00 authored by Michael BerkMichael Berk
The furore preceding the release of the new edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) is in contrast to the incremental changes to several diagnostic categories, which are derived from new research since its predecessor’s birth in 1990. While many of these changes are indeed controversial, they do reflect the intrinsic ambiguity of the extant literature. Additionally, this may be a mirror of the frustration of the field’s limited progress, especially given the false hopes at the dawn of the “decade of the brain”. In the absence of a coherent pathophysiology, the DSM remains no more than a set of consensus based operationalized adjectives, albeit with some degree of reliability. It does not cleave nature at its joints, nor does it aim to, but neither does alternate systems. The largest problem with the DSM system is how it’s used; sometimes too loosely by clinicians, and too rigidly by regulators, insurers, lawyers and at times researchers, who afford it reference and deference disproportionate to its overt acknowledged limitations.

History

Journal

BMC Medicine

Volume

11

Season

Article 128

Pagination

1 - 2

Publisher

BioMed Central

Location

London, England

ISSN

1741-7015

Language

eng

Publication classification

C4 Letter or note

Copyright notice

2013, BioMed Central

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