Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)
The word diagnosis derives from the Greek prefix dia, meaning across, apart, or through, and the Greek word gnosis, meaning knowing. Diagnosis, a thorough (through and through) knowing of the patient’s illness, including knowing it apart from other possibilities (differential diagnosis), is the essential first step in all medical intervention including psychiatric evaluation.
The standard reference in making a psychiatric diagnosis is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of Mental Disorders, published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), now in its 5th edition (APA 2013). Although this is a manual published by one professional organization in the United States, DSM has become the de facto international reference for psychiatric diagnosis.
The APA published a predecessor to a DSM in 1844, which was a statistical classification of institutionalized mental patients. The first official DSM, published in 1952, was based on Adolf Meyer’s...
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- Meyer, A., & Winters, E. E. (1950). The collected papers of Adolf Meyer. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press.Google Scholar