Advantages And Disadvantages Of Comorbidity

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Most psychological research that is conducted today is meant to be applied. Research in and of itself can help no one, but when psychologists and psychiatrists use that research to treat patients, the true value of the research can be recognized. Perhaps the most interesting and well recognized ways mental health care professionals can help individuals is through the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders. The goal of an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment sounds simple enough, but the scientific, political, and medical fields rarely agree on the best way to achieve it. There is even a large debate over what a mental disorder is in the first place. The controversy of focus here though will be whether the categorical or dimensional …show more content…
One large argument for dimensional models is that they reduce the overlap of the various symptoms and disorders that is currently a problem in diagnosis. The American Psychiatric Association’s DSM IV (2000) states that “there is no assumption that each category of mental disorder is a completely discrete entity with absolute boundaries dividing it from other mental disorders or from no mental disorder.” In this quote, the APA notes that while they separate disorders, their categories are far from separate. Comorbidity (the occurrence of more than one mental disorder at the same time) is extremely prevalent with the categorical approach (Widiger & Samuel, 2005). Comorbidity may not seem like a big deal at first, but to put it simply, too much comorbidity implies that the categories the DSM proposes are not highly accurate (Kendall & Jablensky, 2003). Some disorders, like Down syndrome, have a clear cause and symptoms and can fit well in a categorical classification. But many others, like the groups of anxiety disorders or personality disorders, can be incredibly hard to differentiate and categorize. And when so many disorders have so many similar symptoms, an individual can qualify for many more mental disorders by the DSM’s standards than is necessary or even

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