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What is a mental/psychiatric disorder? From DSM-IV to DSM-V

  • D. J. Stein (a1), K. A. Phillips (a2), D. Bolton (a3), K. W. M. Fulford (a4), J. Z. Sadler (a5) and K. S. Kendler (a6)...
Abstract

The distinction between normality and psychopathology has long been subject to debate. DSM-III and DSM-IV provided a definition of mental disorder to help clinicians address this distinction. As part of the process of developing DSM-V, researchers have reviewed the concept of mental disorder and emphasized the need for additional work in this area. Here we review the DSM-IV definition of mental disorder and propose some changes. The approach taken here arguably takes a middle course through some of the relevant conceptual debates. We agree with the view that no definition perfectly specifies precise boundaries for the concept of mental/psychiatric disorder, but in line with a view that the nomenclature can improve over time, we aim here for a more scientifically valid and more clinically useful definition.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
*Address for correspondence: Professor D. J. Stein, UCT Department of Psychiatry, Groote Schuur Hospital J-2, Anzio Rd, Observatory 7925, Cape Town, South Africa. (Email: dan.stein@uct.ac.za)
References
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Psychological Medicine
  • ISSN: 0033-2917
  • EISSN: 1469-8978
  • URL: /core/journals/psychological-medicine
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