Differences Between Old and New Diagnostic and Statistical Manual in Psychology

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  4
Wordcount:  1039 Words
Date:  2022-02-17


The scholarly field of psychology cannot be complete without looking into diagnostic and statistical manual. Essentially, diagnostic and statistical manual occupies a prime position in the study and understanding of mental disorders. Definitionally, the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM) as published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), primarily provides a common standard criteria and language used in the classification of mental disorders (Williams, 2013). The DSM is mostly relied or used by psychiatric drug regulation agencies, clinician, pharmaceutical companies, researchers, health insurance companies, policymakers, legal system among others. However, it is gravitas to note that the Diagnostic and statistical manual is subjected a series of continuous evolutions. Therefore, several differences exist between the old and the new diagnostic and statistical manual.

Is your time best spent reading someone else’s essay? Get a 100% original essay FROM A CERTIFIED WRITER!

Nonetheless, the diagnostic and statistical manual is presently at its fifth phase; DSM-5 that was published back in the year 2013 on the 18th of May. The evolution of the DSM can be dated back from the year 1952 when it was first published (Williams, 2013). Its publication principally emerged from a system of collecting psychiatric hospital statistics and census from an Army manual of the United States forces. From the time it was published in the year 1952, the diagnostic and statistical manual has been subjected to a series of revisions. These revisions have been very pivotal in the expansion of the scope of the number of mental disorders while at the same time removing the mental disorders that are deemed to be no longer mental disorders.

Additionally, the Diagnostic and statistical manual is vastly used in the united states of America purposefully in psychiatric diagnostic, insurance coverage purposes, and the recommendation of treatment (Leigh, 2018). More so, the DSM is chiefly non-theoretical and its focal point is mostly the description of signs and symptoms as well as in the provision of fundamental statistic about the most affected human sex by the illness, the resultant effects of mental illness treatment, the characteristic age of the onset of mental illness as well as the common approaches for the treatment of the illness.

Differences Between Old and New Diagnostic and Statistical Manual

As stated earlier, the diagnostic and statistical manual has been updated or revised severally since its first publication in the year 1952 (Glass, 2009). Regarding this, the old diagnostic and statistical manual per the scope of this paper principally denotes the predecessor of the latest version of DSM; DSM-5. Therefore, the differences between old and new diagnostic and statistical manual are the differences between DSM-IV-TR and DSM-5.


The old DSM was initially published in the year 1994 and recorded at least 250 mental disorders. In the year 2000, an updated version of the DSM-IV was published and referred to as DSM-IV-TR. This updated version was made up of minor text revisions in the provision of every mental disorder descriptions. As a result, the providers of mental health applied the manual to acquire a better understanding of the potential needs of a patient as well as an assessment and diagnosis tool (Glass, 2009). The chief feature of the manual is centered on the fact that it used five varying dimensions to describe disorders. The multiaxial approach was mainly envisioned to assist psychiatrists and clinicians in coming up with wide-ranging evaluations of the level of functioning of a client since mental illness interferes with several areas of a person's life. The five dimensions of describing disorders include:

Axis One: Clinical Syndrome

Describes the clinical symptoms that result in impairment. The axis categorized disorders into varying groups, for instance, eating, anxiety, and mood disorders.

Axis Two: Personality and Mental Retardation

Describes lasting challenges in terms of their functionality, challenges that are not discrete in the first axis disorders (Cooper, 2018). Mental retardation features deficits across areas such as interpersonal care and self-care as well as intellectual impairment. Personality disorders lead to serious challenges in an individual's interaction with the world and is comprised of histrionic and antisocial personality disorder.

Axis Three: Medical Conditions

The axis is made up of medical and physical conditions that either worsen or influence the disorders in the first and second axis. Examples of such medical conditions are brain damages and HIV/AIDS (Cooper, 2018).

Axis Four: Psychology and Environmental Problems

The fourth axis includes all environmental and social problems that can influence both the first and second axis. Such problems, therefore, include divorce, unemployment, death of loved ones and relocation.

Axis Five: Global Assessment of Functioning

The fifth axis gives room for the rating of client's overall functionality level by the clinicians. This axis, therefore, provides a platform for better understanding of the interaction of the four other axes as well as the resultant effects in a person's life (Leigh, 2018).

Changes or Difference Brought by the DSM-5

The most notable difference by the DSM-5 is adopting the use of Arabic numbers and dropping the use of Roman numerals as used by the DSM-IV-TR. DSM-5 does not use the axis system and in its place list the various categories of disorders along with several disorders. Examples of the categories listed by the DSM-5 include depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders, bipolar disorders, eating and feeding disorders, personality disorders among others.

Moreover, other changes include the removal of Asperger's disorder and replacing it with a spectrum of autism disorders. For decreasing overdiagnosis of childhood bipolar disorders, the Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder is included in the DSM-5. Also, several diagnoses have been included officially in the manual, for instance, premenstrual dysphoric, hoarding and binge eating disorders (Leigh, 2018).

In winding up, therefore, the DSM remains to be a very fundamental tool in handling mental illness cases. However, it is gravitas to note that only those people who possess and have specialized training and adequate experience qualify to provide diagnosis and treatment of mental illness using these tools.


Cooper, R. (2018). The field trials: DSM-5 and the new crisis of reliability. Diagnosing the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 49-55. doi:10.4324/9780429473678-6

Glass, R. M. (2009). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). AMA Manual of Style. doi:10.1093/jama/9780195176339.022.529

Leigh, H. (2018). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology, 1134-1137. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_9129

Williams, J. B. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Encyclopedia of Social Work. doi:10.1093/acrefore/9780199975839.013.104

Cite this page

Differences Between Old and New Diagnostic and Statistical Manual in Psychology . (2022, Feb 17). Retrieved from https://proessays.net/essays/differences-between-old-and-new-diagnostic-and-statistical-manual-in-psychology

Free essays can be submitted by anyone,

so we do not vouch for their quality

Want a quality guarantee?
Order from one of our vetted writers instead

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the ProEssays website, please click below to request its removal:

didn't find image

Liked this essay sample but need an original one?

Hire a professional with VAST experience!

24/7 online support

NO plagiarism