Free «Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder (DSM-IV)» Essay Sample

Mental Disorder's diagnostic and Statistical Manual categorizes psychiatric diagnoses. It is known commonly as DSM-IV. The American Psychiatric Association was the organization responsible for this manual publication. The manual covers mental health disorders in both adult and children cases (Mayes, 2005). It also has a developed list of known disorders causes, age at onset, prognosis and gender statistics as well as research on the treatment approaches for the disorder. Mental Health Professionals make use of the manual in their handling of patients in order to understand the respective illnesses and determine potential treatment. It is also one of the best manuals to understand patient's needs.

From the manual, it lists psychiatric disorders of all kinds and categorizes them to facilitate a better understanding of the disorders (Wilson, 1993). There are 300 psychiatric disorders in the DSM-IV. The categorization includes etiology, treatment options, symptoms, and prognosis for 60 psychiatric disorders and more than 8 personality disorders (Juan, 2002).

Mental Disorders categories are based on predominant features. For instance social anxiety, phobias, and post-traumatic stress all including anxiety as the chief feature of the specific disorders. All categories therefore list under Anxiety Disorders.

Anxiety disorders normally categorize many types of disorders with the primary feature in them being inappropriate or abnormal anxiety. Everybody has some level of anxiety experience from time to another (Mayes, 2005). Remember the last time you shocked from a loud noise and the feelings apparent inside your body.

Chances are that for some time, you experienced tensed muscles, increased heart rate or even an acute sense of focus in the process of trying to determine where the noise came from. Other symptoms of anxiety include a normal process felt in our bodies known as 'flight or flight' phenomenon. Major disorders under this category include acute stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, agoraphobia, generalized anxiety disorder, phobias, and posttraumatic stress disorder (Wilson, 1993).

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Dissociative Disorders are also a category with the major characteristic being conscious disruption. Other major disruptions include identity, memory, or perception and they are very common to a person suffering from this disorder. In other words, the body of patient with such a disorder has some malfunctioning and the body system at some point does not work efficiently. Major disorders categorized in this group include Dissociative amnesia, Dissociative identity, Dissociative fugue, and depersonalization disorder (Juan, 2002).

Another big category in the manual includes mood disorders. Many disorders under this category have primary symptoms being experiences of mood disturbances. The conditions in such disorder involve exaggerated, inappropriate, or limited feelings in the individual. It is human to be in low moods for sometime but such cases with regular occurrences are an apparent disorder (Mayes, 2005). They may be symptoms of minor or sever disorders depending on the occurrence in an individual. The disorder is not all about emotional pleasure like it happens in normal human beings but it has to do with more pressure and abnormal emotional changes. Suicidal feelings, feeling like crying and emotional pressures are the subject of the day in a person with this disorder. Major disorders under this category include cyclothymiacs disorder, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder and Dysthymic disorder (Wilson, 1993).

Somatoform Disorders are also part of the anxiety disorders listed in the DSM-IV. The major disorders in this group include the ones where the symptoms are a suggestion of medical condition but in cases that a qualified physician finds no medical condition (Mayes, 2005). In such circumstances, a person suffering from a somatoform disorder experiences some significant pain that emanate from the body even without any diagnosed biological or medical cause. Such people also experience constant pains and aches without any given reason for the existence of these pains. The main disorders listed in this group include body Dysmorphic disorder, Hypochondriasis disorder, conversion disorder, Somatization disorder and pain disorder (Juan, 2002).

There is a great overlap among the diagnoses in the DSM IV list. One can even notice them by a closer look at the disorders and their symptoms. However, it is not easy to tell the differences especially when dealing with close characteristics of the disorders. The major reason for the overlap is varying medical diagnoses. Rarely in these is diagnosis a symptom exclusive to a particular disorder (Wilson, 1993). The symptoms share in most of this disorder and this is the reason why there is confusion. In addition, it is rare to make diagnosis without a particular pattern or showing up of a cluster of symptoms (Wilson, 1993). For instance, Depression involves feelings of sadness, but the same sadness can be experience out of anxiety and the same can come from individual phobias, as well as other disorders.

That is why explanations of disorder follow almost similar strategies and approaches (Mayes, 2005).

The diagnostic and Statistical Manual has biological, cognitive, emotional and behavioral components. These are the main components in every human being and that influence individuals differently and in varying capacity (Wilson, 1993). They make up the influences in an individual including affecting the perceptions and effects of the disorders. In the explanations of all these categories of disorders, emphasis is mainly on individual feelings, the emotional changes in individuals, and an influence in behavior. The application of these components analyzes each particular disorder explaining the cause of the disorder, extremities as well as coming up with methods and approaches relevant in treatment of the respective disorder (Juan, 2002).


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