Origins of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM)

The American Psychological Association produced the DSM in 1952 as a variant of the ICD-6. Previously, healthcare professionals had made numerous attempts to categorize psychopathology formally. These efforts aimed to develop mental health policy to regulate mentally ill persons' diagnosis, treatment, and institutionalization. The creation of the DSM was triggered by the need to establish a uniform nosological system to eradicate the uncertainty surrounding the causes of psychopathology and clinicians’ contention that complex interactions between internal and external factors influenced abnormal behaviors. The continued widening of the perceived role of psychiatry led to the incorporation of mental health beyond mental facility boundaries, subsequently strengthening the need to devise a reliable classification system for mental health disorders.

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