November 25, 2013

Should Psychologists Embrace or Abandon DSM‑5?

The November 20th release of PsycCRITIQUES includes two reviews of the newly released Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) as well as reviews of four other books relevant to the new edition of the manual. These reviews, written by several of the most prominent authorities in the field, are often—but not uniformly—critical of the latest version of the DSM.

Psychologists almost always have the option of using codes from the World Health Organization's (WHO) International Classification of Diseases (ICD), and use of ICD-10 codes will be required by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) after October 1, 2014. Use of a standardized nomenclature will bring diagnostic coding in the United States in line with the taxonomy used by other WHO member countries, and it will facilitate cross-cultural research on mental illness.

Has the DSM outlived its usefulness? Does it have any value other than serving as an important reference tool and repository for mental health information? Is it overpriced? Should psychology professors teach both ICD and DSM coding, or will mastering the ICD codes be sufficient for clinical practice?

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