Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders: A Controversial History

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Crazy is a word with a thousand and one connotations meaning everything from being wildly enthusiastic, to displaying wild or aggressive behaviour. Psychologists have come to the understanding that the pop culture word crazy is synonymous with abnormal behaviour. Abnormal behaviour is difficult to define as the question it faces is who has the authority to differentiate between what is normal and what is abnormal. There are many questions which aid psychologists to differentiate between normal and abnormal, but the following four are the most commonly agreed upon (Rieger, 2011):
1. Is the behaviour statistically rare? Is the characteristic rarely found in society?
2. Does the behaviour violate the norm? Is it socially unacceptable?
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Mental disorder and its classification has been a focus of the medical world for a long time, Hippocrates Is credited with developing the first classification of mental Illnesses, and the nomenclature of mental Illness was non-existent In the early 20th century with the New York Academy of Medicine spearheading a movement to develop an accepted standard of disease (Black & Grant, 2013). It wasn’t until the 1950’s that the APA Committee on Nomenclature and Statistics worked on a more definitive summation of mental disorders which led to the development of the DSM-I. This was the result of the standard reference for medical professionals the, Manual of International Statistical Classification of Disease, Injuries, and Causes of Death (ICD) published less than 10 years prior, was entirely unsatisfactory for psychiatric purpose. Since that first publication of the DSM It has gone through many revisions and editions determined by the growing research and societal Influences and the method of diagnoses. Brannon (1999) describes well the differences between the editions. In the time of the DSM I –II, “the clinician needed to understand the patient’s Internal, unobservable psychological processes. Understandably, these schemes of classification led to a great deal of variation in diagnosis”. DSM One of the major development revisions to most recent DSM editions, DSM-5, was to Increase the ‘DSM/ICD harmonisation’ to prevent more Inconsistencies

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