Institute for the Study of
Healthcare Organizations & Transactions


New Diagnostic Entities

Successive editions of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and popularly known as "the psychiatristís Bible", have greatly increased the number of recognized mental illnesses. The first edition, published in 1952, included only a few dozen different syndromes; the latest edition, published in 1994, covered more than 300. The proliferation of diagnostic categories raises important questions about what constitutes a mental disorder, how "mental illness" is defined, what the difference is between the "normal" and the "abnormal", and who decides. 

On our Hot Topics page, Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD), we explore some of the debates over diagnosis, and their ramifications for understanding and treating a mental disorder vs. accepting certain behavior as normal.  We examine the definition of PMDD and look at the drug that has been suggested as a treatment.

John F. Kihlstrom

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Last modified:  04.08.2010 02:58 PM