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Classifying Abnormal Behavior Why is it useful to have a manual of psychological disorders?

Classifying Abnormal Behavior Why is it useful to have a manual of psychological disorders?

For nearly 40 years, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) has issued a manual describing and classifying the various kinds of psychological disorders. This publication, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), has been revised four times. The DSM-IV-TR (American Psychiatric Association, 2000) provides a complete list of mental disorders, with each category painstakingly defined in terms of significant behavior patterns (see Table 12–2). The DSM has gained increasing acceptance because its detailed criteria for diagnosing mental disorders have made diagnosis much more reli- able. Today, it is the most widely used classification of psychological disorders. In the remainder of this chapter, we will explore some of the key categories in greater detail.


Category Example

Disorders Usually First Diagnosed in Infancy, Childhood, or Adolescence

Mental retardation, learning disorders, autistic disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

Delirium, Dementia, and Amnestic and Other Cognitive Disorders

Delirium, dementia of the Alzheimer’s type, amnestic disorder.

Mental Disorders Due to a General Medical Condition

Psychotic disorder due to epilepsy.

Substance-Related Disorders Alcohol dependence, cocaine dependence, nicotine dependence. Schizophrenia and Other Psychotic Disorders Schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, delusional disorder. Mood Disorders Major depressive disorder, dysthymic disorder, bipolar disorder. Anxiety Disorders Panic disorder with agoraphobia, social phobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-

traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder. Somatoform Disorders Somatization disorder, conversion disorder, hypochondriasis. Factitious Disorders Factitious disorder with predominantly physical signs and symptoms. Dissociative Disorders Dissociative amnesia, dissociative fugue, dissociative identity disorder, depersonalization

disorder. Sexual and Gender-Identity Disorders Hypoactive sexual desire disorder, male erectile disorder, female orgasmic disorder,

vaginismus. Eating Disorders Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa. Sleep Disorders Primary insomnia, narcolepsy, sleep terror disorder. Impulse-Control Disorders Kleptomania, pyromania, pathological gambling. Adjustment Disorders Adjustment disorder with depressed mood, adjustment disorder with conduct disturbance. Personality Disorders Antisocial personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, narcissistic personality

disorder, dependent personality disorder.

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