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Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders

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The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (affectionately and snappily known as DSM), currently (as of 2017) in its fifth edition, is a manual of psychiatric diagnosis. The Board of Trustees of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) makes decisions, subject to ratification or rejection by the general APA membership, on what disorders to include in it. The first edition, published in 1952, described eleven categories of mental disorders and listed 106 individual disorders. DSM-III (1980) included 265 disorders and DSM-IV (1994) and DSM-5 (2013) listed nearly 300.[1]

The first and second editions listed homosexuality as a disorder, but DSM-II 6th Printing (1973) substituted "sexual orientation disturbance", which was in turn removed completely from the DSM-III-R in 1987. Narcissistic personality disorder was removed in 1968 and re-inserted in 1980. DSM-III (1980) jettisoned the terms "neurosis", "melancholia", and "manic depressive illness" and replaced them with "anxiety", "major depression", and "bipolar disorder" (respectively). Multiple personality disorder was included in DSM-III and renamed "dissociative personality disorder" in the DSM-IV.

DSM-5 (not "DSM-V"), published in 2013, finally removed the term "mental retardation" and replaced it with "intellectual disability". The DSM-5 sexual disorders work group abandoned its efforts to add hypersexuality (sex addiction), coercive paraphilia (rape) and hebephilia (statutory rape) as diagnosable disorders[2] when it became evident that the there was massive disapproval from the broader APA membership and the rest of society. One concern was that these new diagnoses would over-medicalize human behavior.[3]


  1. The Evolution of the Classification of Psychiatric Disorders Alina Surís, Ryan Holliday, and Carol S. North, 2015, Behavioral Sciences. Volume 6, Issue 1
  2. DSM 5 Rejects 'Hebephilia' Except for the Fine Print, Allen J. Frances, 3 May 2012, Psychology Today.
  3. American Sex and American Psychiatry, Christopher Lane, 1 May 2012, Psychology Today.