The DSM: The DSM & Diagnosable Mental Health Disorders

  • Known as the DSM, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is—at the time of this writing—in its fifth edition (released in 2013) and is therefore called the “DSM-5.”
  • The DSM is used by many mental health professionals to diagnose mental health disorders.
  • The DSM is a long list of disorders plus their professional definitions.

What is the DSM?

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is the handbook used by health care professionals in the United States and much of the world as the authoritative guide to the diagnosis of mental disorders. DSM contains descriptions, symptoms, and other criteria for diagnosing mental disorders. It provides a common language for clinicians to communicate about their patients and establishes consistent and reliable diagnoses that can be used in the research of mental disorders. It also provides a common language for researchers to study the criteria for potential future revisions and to aid in the development of medications and other interventions. – American Psychiatric Association,