Chapter 2: Assessment and Diagnosis

The Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM)

The DSM-V or the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition is the most current taxonomic and diagnostic tool published by the American Psychological Association. With each iteration of this manual, mental disorders are more defined, sometimes shifting categories or even being removed from the DSM as research presents new findings. For example, homosexuality was included in the earlier iterations of the DSM as a disorder, but it is no longer included in the manual. In addition to providing symptoms and describing mental disorders, it also shares information about comorbidities, like how many people diagnosed with OCD also meet the criteria for major depressive disorder (OSC Rice University).

An important note for learning about these disorders: everyone will bear some similarities with these disorders. Many, if not all of users experience sadness, anxiety, depression, and so on. When these disorders begin to disrupt someone’s normal functioning, there is a problem. Moreover, remember that individuals with these disorders are more than their respective disorders, so view them compassionately. These individuals deserve compassion, understanding, and dignity, not judgment (OSC Rice University).

Highlights from the DSM-IV-TR to the DSM-V

Overall, there were updates made to many categories with in the DSM. Here will just be a brief overview of what changed; if you want to learn more, read this document on the highlights, provided by the American Psychiatric Association. Select the double pointed arrow in the lower right corner to enlarge the slides to full screen.



Watch this video to learn more about the changes from the DSM-V to the DSM-V, Text Revision.


Children vs. Adults

There are some disorders that are only seen in children. There are also some disorders that therapists or psychiatrists will not diagnose in children before they are 18 years old, due to the labeling and stigma associated with them. The DSM-5 is the ultimate tool used to diagnose mental health disorders in children, but it bears repeating that many professionals still exercise caution and choose not to label students prior to 18 years of age. There are some dangers with diagnosing children too young with a serious mental illness and those consequences of those decisions cannot be undone.

Review each disorder, flipping the card to see more details by selecting “Turn”. After reviewing a card, select the right pointing arrow to move to the next card. There are eight cards to review (CDC, 2022).



American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Highlights of changes from DSM-IV-TR to DSM-5. Retrieved on August 10, 2022 from

American Psychiatric Association (2022, March 24). The recent changes in the DSM-5-TR with Dr. Altha Stewart [Video]. YouTube.

National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (2022). Children’s mental health. CDC. Retrieved on August 17, 2022 from

OSC Rice University (n.d.). Diagnosing and classifying psychological disorders. Pressbooks. Retrieved on August 10, 2022 from



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Psychopathology by Andrea Bearman and Jackie Delagrange is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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