Why Is the Dsm-Iv Is Referred to as the Gold Standard of Clinical Diagnosis?

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By babytades
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The DSM-IV is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders, published by the American Psychiatric Association. It provides a holistic approach to mental health by categorising disorders into five axes, that provide a broad range of information about the individual’s functioning, (Sue, Wing-Sue, Sue & Sue, 2012). In distinguishing abnormal from normal, the behaviour must be clinically significant and associated with intensive distress, impairment, social dysfunction or increased personal or public risk, however it must be unrelated to grief caused by recent personal loss, (4th ed., text rev.; DSM–IV–TR; American Psychiatric Association, 2000; Holt et al, 2012).

The distinct criteria and descriptive information in the DSM-IV, enables clinicians to make quick diagnoses based on an individual’s symptoms. It can also be used in legal proceedings, to determine the mental state of individuals and ensure they receive appropriate sentencing in psychiatric care rather than prison. It is versatile and the only manual that strictly focuses on mental health which is why it is referred to as the Gold Standard of clinical diagnosis. The DSM-IV has also played a vital role in the development of research and treatments for mental health, which has improved many patients’ quality of life.

Keenan et al. (2007) examined the reliability of the DSM-IV oppositional defiant and conduct disorder symptoms, in 3-5 year old children. The mothers were interviewed about their children’s current symptoms and results showed that the reliability of symptoms, measured by interrater and test-retest reliability, was moderate to high. However, the DSM-IV-TR (2000) 4th ed., text rev. emphasises that the diagnostic criteria are only guidelines and reliability is therefore determined primarily by the clinician’s interpretation of the information provided.
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