Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is a comprehensive summary of all known forms of psychopathology. It is published by the American Psychiatric Association and is currently in its fourth edition (DSM–IV). The DSM is used by both researchers and clinicians to identify psychological disorders.


The need for statistical information was the initial impetus in the United States to develop a classification system of mental disorders. The first official attempt was the recording of the frequency of one category labeled ‘idiocy/insanity’ in the 1840 census. By the 1880 census, seven categories of mental illness were distinguished—dementia, dipsomania, epilepsy, mania, melancholia, monomania, and paresis. In 1952, the American Psychiatric Association Committee on Nomenclature and Statistics published the first edition of the DSM. This edition ...

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