Diagnostic Categories Or Dimensions Summary

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The article “Diagnostic Categories or Dimensions? A Question for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders- Fifth Edition” written by Widiger and Samuel, provided an interesting critique of the complications that come from diagnosing psychopathology in a patient, whether using a categorical or dimensional approach. The paper aims to show that a categorical approach may not be the most effective diagnostic method because many psychological diseases occur on a continuum and are thus hard to separate. Several studies are mentioned which have set out to determine how to best diagnose psychopathology, including taxometric analyses, which tests the validity of both types of diagnosing. The authors attempt to raise doubts, from clinicians,…show more content…
If there is little difference between several disorders, and all are treated the same, it seems as though a dimensional approach could be better used. The fact that many disorders are comorbid, such as those between anxiety and depressive disorders, also makes it seem like a continuum would be more advantageous for clinicians. I would point out, however, that the article did not fully discuss that the DSM makes it much simpler for clinicians to research and treat patients than if a dimensional approach was put into effect. The fact that the current system allows for more open discussion and clarity is something that is important and should be kept in mind when considering a change. A question that arose for me while reading this article, is whether it would be logistically realistic to change to a dimensional system. While a new system does seem that it could work better, it appears to me that it could be difficult to create a manual purely based on continuums of disorders, while still maintaining a degree of clarity that would be useful when diagnosing a patient. There are obvious advantages and disadvantages to each of the systems, and it seems it would be most valuable for, patients and clinicians, to find a way to incorporate both approaches while diagnosing and treating patients for
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