DSM-5 Made Easy: The Clinician’s Guide to Diagnosis by James Morrison
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About DSM-5 Made Easy: The Clinician’s Guide to Diagnosis by James Morrison
DSM-5 Made Easy: The Clinician’s Guide to Diagnosis by James Morrison: The summer after my first year in medical school, I visited a friend at his home near the mental institution where both of his parents worked. One afternoon, walking around the vast, open campus, we fell into conversation with a staff psychiatrist, who told us about his latest interesting patient.
She was a young woman who had been admitted a few days earlier. While attending college nearby, she had suddenly become agitated—speaking rapidly and rushing in a frenzy from one activity to another. After she impulsively sold her nearly new Corvette for $500, her friends had brought her for evaluation. “Five hundred dollars!” exclaimed the psychiatrist. “That kind of thinking, that’s schizophrenia!”
Now my friend and I had had just enough training in psychiatry to recognize that this young woman’s symptoms and course of illness were far more consistent with an episode of mania than with schizophrenia. We were too young and callow to challenge the diagnosis of the experienced clinician, but as we went on our way, we each expressed the fervent hope that this patient’s care would be less flawed than her assessment.
For decades, the memory of that blown diagnosis has haunted me, in part because it is by no means unique in the annals of mental health lore. Indeed, it wasn’t until many years later that the first diagnostic manual to include specific criteria (DSM-III) was published. That book has since morphed into the enormous fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association.
Everyone who evaluates and treats mental health patients must understand the latest edition of what has become the world standard for evaluation and diagnosis. But getting value from DSM-5 requires a great deal of concentration. Written by a committee with the goal of providing standards for research as well as clinical practice in a variety of disciplines, it covers nearly every conceivable subject related to mental health. But you could come away from it not knowing how the diagnostic criteria translate to a real live patient.
I wrote DSM-5 Made Easy to make mental health diagnoses more accessible to clinicians from all mental health professions. In these pages, you will find descriptions of every mental disorder, with emphasis on those that occur in adults. With it, you can learn how to diagnose each one of them. With its careful use, no one today would mistake that young college student’s manic symptoms for schizophrenia.
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