Controversies Surrounding Classification of Disorders Essay

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Controversies Surrounding Classification Theories of Psychopathology HS513-T302 March 25, 2012 Abstract The DSM is used as a standard of reference for psychological diagnosis. The DSM was originally published in 1952 containing only 106 diagnoses; today the revised DSM-IV-TR contains 365 diagnoses. Throughout the history of the DSM, individuals in the mental health profession have relied on it for clarification of disorders, facilitating research, improving communication with other professionals and improving the collection of clinical information. With a new DSM-V underway, there has been a lot of issues surrounding the contents and classifications of the new DSM. There are…show more content…
As time changes, the DSM has changed to fit society’s needs as well as acceptance. The first major controversy concerning classifications of mental disorders is the debate over dimensions vs. categories. According to the APA (2000), DSM–IV is a categorical classification that divides mental disorders into types based on criterion sets with defining features. Categories have been utilized in the past DSMs, however there has been much debate on changing to the dimensional model. The debate stems from the notion that in order for a categorical diagnosis to relate specifically to a disorder, the pathology would have to have been largely resilient to the influence of many other genetic and environmental influences (Widiger & Sankis, 2000). On the contrast, utilizing the dimensional model for a diagnosis would utilize a wide variety of neurochemical, interpersonal, cognitive, and other mediating and moderating variables that help to develop, shape, and form a particular individual’s psychopathology profile (Andreasen, 1997). The second major issue related to classifications of mental disorders is the classification of the disorder vs. the classification of the individual. When speaking about the classification of an individual, it stigmatizes the individual. Instead of referring to someone as having an alcohol dependence
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