Diagnoses are categorized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of
Mental Disorders, 4th. Edition. Better known as the DSM-IV, the
manual is published by the American Psychiatric Association and covers all
mental health disorders for both children and adults. It also lists known
causes of these disorders, statistics in terms of gender, age at onset,
and prognosis as well as some research concerning the optimal treatment
Professionals use this manual when working with patients in order to
better understand their illness and potential treatment and to help 3rd
party payers (e.g., insurance) understand the needs of the patient. The book is typically considered the
bible for any professional who makes psychiatric diagnoses in the
United States and many other countries. Much of the diagnostic information
on these pages is gathered from the DSM IV.
There is a
good deal of overlap among the different diagnoses listed in the DSM IV,
which you may notice by browsing these pages. The reason for this is the
same as for the overlap in medical diagnoses...rarely is a symptom
exclusive of anything, and rarely can a diagnosis be made without a
pattern or cluster of symptoms. For example, Depression includes feelings
of sadness, but anxiety can lead to sadness, as can phobias, psychosis,
and many other disorders. Keep this in mind when reading about specific
diagnoses or you may find yourself saying way too frequently "Oh my
Gosh, I have that."
only be made by a clinician (e.g., psychologist or psychiatrist) who
specializes in these areas and who understands the symptom patterns and
idiosyncrasies of each disorder. Dont self diagnose. If you feel you
may have symptoms which are negatively affecting your life, please seek
the advice and assistance of a professional.
Disorders are categorized according to their predominant features.
For example, phobias, social anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder
all include anxiety as a main feature of the disorder. All of these
disorders are therefore categorized under Anxiety Disorders.
The list on
the left includes a link to the adult categories which will then link you
to specific disorders in that category. For a complete listing of
all disorders covered, use the Alphabetical Index. There's a lot of
information here so please keep in mind that reading this information does
not make you an expert in the nuances of mental health. These pages
are provided to increase your knowledge and help guide you to a better
understanding of psychopathology.