Essay on The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders

1200 Words5 Pages
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) has a number of features. First of all, every disorder is identified using a name and a numerical code. In addition, the manual provides the criteria for diagnosing each disorder as well as establishes subtypes of a disorder and examples that would illustrate the disorder. The manual goes further by addressing the typical age of onset, culturally related information, gender-related information, prevalence of a disorder, typical clinical course of a disorder, typical predisposing factors of a disorder and genetic family patterns of a disease (Summers, 2009). The DSM-IV is a tool that is used by mental health practitioners and social service workers. As has been demonstrated…show more content…
Personality disorders have a sex prevalence rate and there has been some suggestion that those rates reflect gender bias. The bias concerns derived from the “conceptualization of personality disorders, the wording of diagnostic criteria, the application of diagnostic criteria, thresholds for diagnosis, clinical presentation, researching sampling, the self-awareness and openness of patients and the items included within self-report inventories” (Butcher, 2009, p. 356). Studies have failed to prove that there is significant gender bias in the DSM. However, research has showed there is gender bias within clinical judgments. For example, gender related items would be included within self-report inventories (Butcher, 2009). Clinicians tend to judge female patients as being mentally ill more readily than male patients, even when the symptoms are the same. Moreover, women are more likely to be cast as overly emotional, have a need for mood-altering medication and require ongoing monitoring/treatment (Zur and Nordmarken, 2010).
Sexual orientation has also caused considerable bias. Homosexuality was listed in the DSM as a mental disorder up until 1974. Even law had identified homosexual behavior as criminal; for instance, sodomy laws. Although homosexuality is no longer listed in the DSM, therapists still have the option of considering homosexual behavior as a sexual disorder not otherwise specified. The ability to still classify homosexuality as a
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