The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), offers a common language and standard criteria for the classification of mental disorders.
It is used, or relied upon, by clinicians, researchers, psychiatric drug regulation agencies, health insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, the legal system, and policy makers together with alternatives, such as the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD) produced by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The DSM is now in its fifth edition, DSM-5, published on May 18, 2013.
While the DSM has been praised for standardizing psychiatric diagnostic categories and criteria, it has also generated controversy and criticism. Critics argue that the DSM represents an unscientific and subjective system. There are ongoing issues concerning the validity and reliability of the diagnostic categories; the reliance on superficial symptoms; the use of artificial dividing lines between categories and from "normality"; possible cultural bias; and medicalization of human distress.
Adapted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Internet. Accessed on June 14, 2016.