CLASSIFICATION AND ASSESSMENT OF MENTAL DISORDERS
1. Discuss the DSM system as a classification tool of abnormal behavior including some of its features (2 marks)
The DSM is the most widely accepted system for classifying mental disorders. The system considers abnormal behaviour as indications or symptoms of underlying pathologies. The DSM acknowledges that the source of majority of the mental disorders are uncertain.
Some features of the DSM are that it is descriptive and not explanatory. This meaning the DSM describes diagnostic features also known as symptoms for abnormal behaviour. It does not try to explain where they came from. Some other disorders there is only a subsection of symptoms that is mandatory to consider an individual as having the disorder. In the DSM abnormal behaviour patterns are characterised according to the clinical topographies they share. The DSM-5 characterises these behaviour patters also known as mental disorders according to developmental models. By doing this allows related lifespan information to be include in decisions about clinical diagnoses. As well the DSM-5 purposely employs dimensions instead of categories in assessing abnormal behaviour. Once a diagnosis is made of a mental disorder other significant details are gathered for the person, for instance psychosocial and/or environmental conditions that effects the persistence of the disorder. The influences the disorder has on parts of the persons life are also documented.
2. What are the weaknesses of the DSM? (1 mark)
One of the major weaknesses of the DSM seems to stem from the medical model approach. The medical model approach means that the disorder is present or absent within a person, there is no levels to the disorder. As well this model focus on classifying psychological disorders. There is also the reliability and validity of the DSM, some challenge the specific diagnostic criterion and the problem behaviours as symptoms of underlying mental disorders. Another weakness of the DSM is the stigmatization of people categorized with psychiatric diagnoses. Additionally, the DSM does not look at history or childhood experiences and looks to much on current behaviours. Finally, some say they are being overzealous when removing the theoretical concepts which explained the cause of abnormal behaviour.
3. Review the material covered in A Closer Look and discuss the major changes in the May 2013 updating of the DSM-IV system to the DSM-5. (2 marks)
There are three major changes to the DSM in May 2013. The DSM-5 created a more dimensional model rather than keeping the categorical model. Portraying disorders as dimensional deliberately. They did not want the “one-size-fits-all” label anymore. Clinicians now can rate both presence and severity of the client’s symptoms. The DSM-5 has been reorganized in relation to developmental lifespan, starting with infancy or neurodevelopment and progressing through diagnostic areas more frequently diagnosed in adulthood. They also, placed diagnostic areas that are alike closer to each other. The final major change to the DSM-5 from the DSM-IV is the replacement of DSM-IV disorders with other relevant disorders and criterion changes. In almost every disorder they have made changes to reflect current research along with adding several new disorders. They also separated some disorders like mood disorder, this has been separated into depressive disorders and bipolar disorders. Overall, there are three major changes to the DSM to help improve the ability to diagnose clients.