DSM-IV is the fourth, and current, edititon of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. DSM-IV defines the criteria for a wide array of mental illnesses. Most psychiatrists use it as a basis for diagnosing patients since insurance companies and hospitals like nice, orderly forms. Yet, they tend to focus more on alleviating symptoms with medication and other therapy than on attempting to fit people into strictly defined categories.
Many reasearchers are in doubt of its scientific value. In the article " DSM-IV: Does Bigger and Newer Mean Better?" by Herb Kutchins and Stuart A. Kirk. They complain that first of all DSM-IV is too long, DSM-IV is a volume of more than 900 pages, 50% longer than DSM-III-R, yet it adds only 13 new diagnoses. It is also werid that the APA almost immediately started work on the present edition. Second of all the DSM-IV is difficult to use, often excessively and far less clear than DSM-III-R. It no longer includes the index of symptoms that allowes users of DSM-III-R to move quickly from clinical observations to diagnoese. One fundamental deficiency of the manual is the lack of consistent conceptual framework. Most of the diagnoses in DSM-IV have been carried over from earlier editions, and the APA admits that many of them do not meet the new standards, it confuse the user from knowing which diagnoses have a solid scientific basis. Kutchins and Kirk also mention DSM-IV is just like DSM-III-R, is keyed to ICD-9-CM not ICD-10, therefore DSM-IV will be obsolete when ICD-10 is adopted.
in conclusion Kutchins and Kirk believe DSM-IV not just a much bigger manual, but also very difficult to use, thus it will be discontinue soon.
In Allen Frances, Michael B. First, and Harold Alan Pincus's "DSM-IV; Its value and limitations" It explain the reason DSM-IV is longer than DSM-III-R it because it provide a fuller summery of what is know about mental disorders. The manual had to be long to se... Continue Reading