DSM IV Depression


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DSM IV depression is the depression as defined in DSM IV. DSM IV stands for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders - Fourth Edition.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders- Fourth Edition (American Psychiatric Association, 1994) is the most recent reference used by mental health professionals as well as physicians to diagnose mental disorders, and to categorize conditions or disorders that people might have (NOT to categorize people). The publication is mostly referred to as the DSM or DSM-IV as an abbreviation.

The American Psychiatric Association began publishing the DSM in 1952, and it has since published several revisions before this IV version, or the fourth edition, which came out in 1994. The mosre recent version, i.e. DSM-IV lists over 200 mental health conditions and the criteria to make an appropriate diagnosis such as for depression.

Diagnostic criteria for mental disorders are symptoms in one of four categories. Take an example of major depressive disorder, for instance, affective or sometimes so-called mood symptoms include depressed mood and feelings of worthlessness. Behavioral symptoms include social withdrawal, in this case the patients don’t have a desire to socialize with others, which is actually against human nature as social beings. Cognitive symptoms, like difficulty with concentration, some times with decision making. Finally, somatic or physical symptoms include insomnia or sometimes hypersomnia (too much sleep).

DSM-IV is  more than a tool for making diagnoses. It is also used by mental health professionals or physicians as a guide to refer mental health conditions of a patient so they can talk in a common ground. When two doctors discuss a diagnosis such as “major depressive disorder, with single episode, is severe with psychotic features,” they both mean the same thing regarding aspects and conditions of the illness with the patient. Without the DSM-IV, the two doctors might mean different things regarding the condition of the same patient, because as you know, the human languagea are vague and inprecise by their very nature. The DSM-IV also facilitate mental health professionals to reach agreement on which symptoms or groups of symptoms should define which kind of mental illness or disorders. Such decisions are based on empirical evidence (such as research results), usually by a multi-disciplinary group of professionals.

The DSM-IV is sometimes used as a reference or an educational tool for all types of research such as prevalence studies, clinical trials,  prognostics research, patient mental recovery research.

If used correctly, DSM IV depression could be a very useful tool for patients or their friends or families to look into their depression problems too.

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