Mental Health Monday–Welcome to DSM 5 (Plus a giveaway!)

First, I’d like to draw your attention to Elle Casey’s Springtime Indie Book Giveaway. You can choose from over 190 titles–including my short story, Tsavo Pride! Click HERE to sign up–you have until WEDNESDAY MAY 15th. 😉

* * * * * * * *

The next version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual comes out this week. It’s been about 13 years since the DSM-IV-TR was published, outlining our current system of diagnosing various mental disorders. As its previous version (DSM-IV and DSM-III), it divided mental illnesses in categories such as Schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, Affective (or Mood) disorders, Anxiety disorders, Personality disorders, Substance Use Disorders, Somataform disorders, and others. It used the Multi-Axial System, detailing information on five major axes. (Axis I includes the above mentioned disorders, Axis II includes Mental Retardation and Personality Disorders, Axis II includes pertinent medical issues, Axis IV describes stressors such as relationship strain, financial strain, homelessness, etc, and Axis V gives a Global Assessment of Functioning, which is a 0-100 scale that gives an idea of how a person is functioning.)

(Phew, and that was the SHORT version!)

I haven’t seen the DSM 5 yet, but there are some drastic changes…which means mental health clinicians need to learn a new “language” of describing diagnosis, not only to one another but to their clients.

For instance, Roman numerals are no longer being used in the title.

(WHOA. Like, for real? Yeah…


The Multi-Axial System is GONE. Disorders are no longer categorized as above, but are broken into 20 chapters. Categories include Bipolar and other mood disorders, Anxiety Disorders, Trauma and Stress Disorders (essentially, PTSD has been removed from the Anxiety Disorder category and given its own chapter), and more.

(It’s going to be an interesting time for mental health and we’ll likely experience technical difficulties in converting to this new system, so we appreciate your patience and will strive to return you to your regularly scheduled program. ;p)

In what instances have you guys had to learn new nomenclature or a new way of conceptualizing information and how did you get used to it?

8 comments on “Mental Health Monday–Welcome to DSM 5 (Plus a giveaway!)

  1. Lydia Kang says:

    Wow, that is a huge change! And no V? NO V? I’m all confused.

  2. A new DSM? Cool. I’ve always found it interesting to read those books.

  3. salarsen says:

    Learning a new language for all this sounds like quite the challenge.

    I saw Elle’s giveaway. Whoa…it’s huge!

  4. Linda Gray says:

    I’ve read the NYT criticism and support of the new DSM, and am definitely confused. Sounds like it will be a battle, but hopefully a very productive one. Mental health is getting a lot of play in media these days—maybe it’s finally coming into the light of day so that people won’t feel stigmatized by m.h. issues. May the DSM support that!

  5. Karen Lange says:

    Sounds like a big change! I am sure you are up to the challenge. 🙂

  6. I saw Hannibal this weekend and thought of you, Laura.

  7. J E Fritz says:

    Sounds like these changes are going to take some getting used to. Outside of practicing over and over, I’m not sure there’s an easy way to get it down. I hope it works well for patients and doctors.

  8. Donna Hole says:

    Several counties have changed to a new software for the welfare departments. We went from ISAWS (dos driven) to C-IV (menu driven). We had to learn a new way of inputting info into the computer, new ways of reading the results, new ways of building relationships. We don’t enter case comments any more, we “journal”. And no paper – its all electronic. No paper was harder to get used to than new verbiage.

    I think its time again to update the DSM. Wonder if they’ll ever revise the PDR.


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