The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic
and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)
is a classification of mental disorders with associated criteria
designed to facilitate more reliable diagnoses of these disorders.
With successive editions over the past 60 years, it has become a
standard reference for clinical practice in the mental health field. Since
a complete description of the underlying pathological processes
is not possible for most mental disorders, it is important to emphasize
that the current diagnostic criteria are the best available description
of how mental disorders are expressed and can be recognized by trained
clinicians. DSM is intended to serve as a practical, functional,
and flexible guide for organizing information that can aid in the
accurate diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders. It is a tool
for clinicians, an essential educational resource for students and
practitioners, and a reference for researchers in the field.