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June 25, 2013

The DSM-V has Arrived!

The library has just received the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association. This manual is designed to assist mental health professionals in diagnosing patients. The DSM-5 (also known as the DSM-V) replaces the previous edition, known as the DSM-IV. A case search for "DSM-IV", "DSM-4", or "diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders" brings up several cases citing disorder descriptions from or use of this manual.

A cautionary statement on forensic use of the manual is included at the beginning of the DSM-5. While the manual may be useful as an established system of diagnosis for particular mental disorders, there is a risk that the information may be misused or misunderstood. It cautions: "These dangers arise because of the imperfect fit between the questions of ultimate concern to the law and the information contained in a clinical diagnosis. In most situations, the clinical diagnosis of a DSM-5 mental disorder such as intellectual disability (intellectual developmental disorder), schizophrenia, major neurocognitive disorder, gambling disorder, or pedophilic disorder does not imply that an individual with such a condition meets legal criteria for the presence of a mental disorder or a specified legal standard (e.g., for competence, criminal responsibility, or disability)."

The DSM-5 has been discussed in scientific and mainstream news in the past few years. Several law review articles anticipating the DSM-5 can be found via the library's subscription to HeinOnline or LegalTrac. A quick tip for those searching for articles: the manual is most commonly referred to in legal literature by the roman numeral abbreviation, DSM-V.

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