Back Intro To Abnormal Psych Infodump

Intro to The DSM V and abnormal psychology

What does DSM stand for? The DSM is an abbreviation standing for: the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The first edition of these 5 books was published in 1952 as an extension of a different manual categorizing disorders. According to “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.” So in short, the DSM is a book that lists all the known mental illnesses, and provides criteria to diagnose them. The 5th edition is the most commonly used today and is the newest edition, being released in 2013. You’d likely find an edition of the DSM in a therapist or psychiatrists office, or in a mental health researchers office. If you were to be given a psychiatric assessment (a list of questions to see if you have a certain disorder or not) your questions would most likely be taken from the DSM 5. The DSM however isn’t the only way to categorize mental disorders, it is only one of the many options. The ICD (international classification of diseases) also has a section on mental disorders. The difference between the DSM and ICD is that the DSM is more commonly used in North America and the ICD lists other medical conditions beyond mental illness, while the DSM only mentions mental illnesses.

What are the mental disorders in the DSM 5? To know that we must begin to focus on a few, since there are a whooping 157 different disorders mentioned. In the DSM 4 (the second most recent edition) disorders were grouped into 3 groups called “Axis” to help tell them apart. We will use this framework to make it easier to explain the general groups of mental illnesses, despite the fact that the Axis system not used anymore.

Axis I: Axis I disorders tend to be the most commonly found in the public. Disorders are grouped into categories smaller than the axis to explain common symptoms between them. For example in the group Mood Disorders, the term mood disorders is not an actual diagnosis but instead a term used to generalize a few different disorders or the mood. More specific labels for mood disorders such as depression, are diagnosis that one can have. You will not see someone say they are diagnosed with Mood Disorder, they will instead specify their specific Mood Disorder. This is like the difference between saying you’re eating fruit and saying you’re eating an apple. Hopefully this visual will help. In here Mood disorders are separated into two groups: Bipolar and Depression groups.

Now that that is covered, here are the different illnesses found in Axis I: Dissociative disorders (feelings of detachment from ones self or your surroundings), Eating disorders (struggles with food, weight, and eating regularly), Mood Disorders (bipolar and depression, illnesses that affect your emotions and happiness), Psychotic disorders (illness that affect your perception of reality, schizophrenia is one of them), and Substance Use Disorders (addictions, such as alcohol addiction and illicit drug use) In the DSM IV, PTSD is categorized as an anxiety disorder, but now in the DSM 5 it is in a class called Trauma and Stressor Related Disorders. These disorders are related to the re experiencing of traumatic events and can be developed at any time in life such as the other Axis I disorders.

Axis II: Axis two is much more complicated to treat than Axis I. These are disorders that are generally with someone since a young age and are less responsive to medication. You can not suddenly develop an Axis II disorder like you can an Axis I illness. Some conditions are present from birth. In Axis II you will find both developmental disorders and personality disorders. Personality disorders are long term patterns of behaviour and thought processes that are so connected to a person they seem to be a part of their personality. A commonly known example of these is NPD, or narcissistic personality disorder. Other examples are Schizoid personality disorder and Dependant personality disorder. Along with personality disorders Axis II also includes developmental disorders such as Autism and ADHD, conditions that are present from birth and affect the way a person learns and functions in society. These developmental disorders are less issues of emotion and more related to having different neurology than the average person.

While the Axis system does include more disorders, those are medical based issues that aren’t too relevant to what we are focusing on. It’s important to remember that the Axis system is generally no longer used today. I only mentioned it because it helps you get into the habit of thinking of disorders as “short term/sudden” such as Axis I, and “long term/developmental” such as Axis II. Anyone can develop depression, the Axis I disorder, at any age. On the contrary though you can not suddenly develop a personality disorder. You would be required to have symptoms for majority of your life that did not appear suddenly but instead over time. Medications are mainly made in the hopes of treating Axis I disorders as they are believed to be more chemical based than neurological (issues in the wiring and structure of the brain). There are many different opinions on this though. Some professionals do not believe any mental disorder is originated from a chemical imbalance but instead that they are from neurological dysfunction, while some believe that all of them are based off chemistry alone. Evidence behind either theory is limited since the field of mental health is still young, but the general consensus based on research is that mental disorders originate from some malfunction in the brain, body and nervous system, whatever that may be. In some cases a mentally ill brain can be seen through brain scans to have sizes of certain brain structures than a healthy subject, and in some cases there seems to be no visible difference.

Where this text is there will soon be a short paragraph on each disorder explaining its criteria and it’s symptoms. Expect this to take a few days for this update to come around.