Mental Disorders (A complete Overview)

In this brief guide, mental disorders will be introduced, what they and how many of them are listed in the clinician’s handbook called DSM.

There are two main classifications of disorders that are used worldwide by mental health professionals.

The one developed by world health organization (WHO) is the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) and the other one is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), which covers all the mental disorders, is developed by the American Psychiatric Association (APA).

Manual for Mental disorders

For clinical diagnosis, all the mental disorders are classified into DSM including children and adult disorders.

The Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders lists the causes of the disorders as well such as gender, prognosis, and age at onset.

It has various advantages in the research area as well and is considered more accurate. It has been frequently revised and the recent and fifth publication of the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM 5) was in 2013.

The historical background of DSM goes back to 1952 when the US military acknowledged the need to classify mental disorders.

Initially, it was not considered as a useful guide but in 1980, Robert Spitzer revised it for the third time (DSM-III) which was then considered important to use DSM in research.

Mental disorders in DSM 5

Categories: In total there were 541 diagnostic categories, increase of closely 160 categories compared with DSM-IV.

Publication date:

It was published in 2013.

Number of pages:

Number of pages were 947.

Number of diagnosis:

The number of diagnoses were 541. (Roger K. Blashfield, 2014)

Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5 (DSM 5)

After the development and advancement in the mental health field, the different editions of DSM have been published by the American Psychiatric Association.

Over a 12-year process, the establishment of the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM 5) was a massive undertaking that involved hundreds of people working towards a common goal.

A lot of measures were taken in order to improve the clinical usefulness of the DSM 5 as a roadmap to mental disorder diagnosis.

A great deal of consideration and deliberation was included in reviewing the diagnostic criteria, taking into account the structure of every component of the manual and creating new elements that were considered to be most useful to mental health professionals.

Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM 5) has the primary purpose to help and aid trained mental health professionals in diagnosing mental disorders in their patients.

That will help them in making case formulation for each individual and subsequently informed treatment plan.

The diagnostic criteria of disorders contain symptoms that are not the comprehensive definitions of underlying disorder because each disorder consists of behavioural, cognitive, physiological and emotional aspects that are too complex to be described briefly as summaries.

A diagnosis made by these unusual symptoms is called Pathologization.

Mental health professionals conduct a risk assessment for mental health sufferers in order to analyse their condition.

List of Mental disorders

In DSM 5 the following psychological disorder categories are listed:

·        Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

·        Autism Spectrum Disorder

·        Conduct Disorder

·        Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder

(A different kind of mental disorder, Intermittent Explosive disorder is a type of behavioral disorder)

·        Eating Disorders, Gender Dysphoria,

·        Intellectual Disability

·        Internet Gaming Disorder

·        Major Depressive Disorder and the Bereavement Exclusion

·        Mild Neurocognitive Disorder

·        Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders (For example, Dermatillomania)

·        Paraphilic Disorders

·        Personality Disorder (For example, Psychopathy)

·        Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

·        Schizophrenia

·        Sleep-Wake Disorders

·        Specific Learning Disorder

·        Social Communication Disorder

·        Somatic Symptom Disorder

·        Substance-Related and Addictive Disorders.

There are different types of dissociative disorders, such as the Retrograde Amnesia which is not mentioned here.

New Mental disorders in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders fifth edition

●       Social (Pragmatic) Communication Disorder

●       Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder

●       Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

●       Hoarding Disorder

●       Excoriation (Skin‐Picking) Disorder

●       Disinhibited Social Engagement Disorder (split from Reactive Attachment Disorder)

●       Binge Eating Disorder

●       Central Sleep Apnea

●       Sleep-Related Hypoventilation

●       Rapid Eye Movement Sleep Behavior Disorder

●       Restless Legs Syndrome •Caffeine Withdrawal

●       Major Neurocognitive Disorder with Lewy Body Disease (Dementia Due to Other Medical Conditions)

●       Mild Neurocognitive Disorder

There are some disorders, such as the Relational disorder that are a type of mental disorder but aren’t an official part of the DSM-V.

All the mental disorders mentioned above cause psychosomatic to the sufferer.

Eliminated Disorders in the DSM 5

●       Sexual Aversion Disorder

●       Polysubstance-Related Disorder

Differences in the previous versions of DSM and DSM 5

The fifth revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders has been released in May 2013 at the meeting of APA.

The changes and revision of DSM 5 were based on the principle that it should be feasible for clinical use as well as the research evidence should follow it back.

The revised version of the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) has three sections followed by the appendix.

Following are the few of the differences made in DSM 5 from the previous versions of DSM

●       Detailed and specific criteria has been made in DSM 5 to reduce the reliance on diagnosing not otherwise specified has been replaced by category of unclassified or other

●       An effort has been made in the newer version of DSM to reduce the number of categories of disorders and to do that, many disorders are combined under one diagnosis

●       All the axis has been eliminated in DSM 5. The reason to do so is that Axis was not supported by research. Now the personality disorders have a separate chapter. They no longer come under Axis II

●       There is no completely different and separate section for children, rather, all the disorders are defined further by lifespan as well. For instance, under the trauma section, PTSD has the criteria for children of 6years and younger

●       There is a whole chapter for Substance Use and in that dependence and substance abuse have been combined along with the severity modifiers

●       Other than these, DSM 5 recommends using the WHO scale of disability assessment which is made available in the section of Assessment Measures

●       In general, some of the criteria have been deleted from the DSM 5 which was present in the previous versions. For instance, in PTSD, when experiencing trauma it was necessary to feel fear, hopelessness or horror in DSM IV but it has been deleted in DSM 5 as the majority of the PTSD cases didn’t fulfil the respective criteria.

●       The Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder has its separate chapter now. Furthermore, PTSD has been separated from the Anxiety Disorders and is now under trauma-related Disorders

Differences from ICD

The ICD includes all of the health problems and diseases. For health management and treatment purposes, ICD is consulted by the health professionals.

It has a section for mental disorders as well including the definitions of disorders, their criteria, and general rules.

It is different from DSM in the following ways:

●       The first and foremost difference between DSM and ICD is that the DSM includes mental disorders only, their criteria and aetiology in detail. Whereas, ICD includes all of the other health problems as well as mental disorders

●       ICD basically is developed by different medical professionals belonging to different countries around the world by WHO for the purpose of public health. DSM was developed by the US association of psychiatry for the use of psychiatrists and therapists

●       The disorders in the DSM has been covered using sixteen chapters while in ICD, there are ten chapters covering the diseases

●       ICD has given the importance and special focus on the middle and low-income countries, whereas, high-income countries are mainly focused on psychiatric care in DSM

●       With each succession, there is addition of more disorders with more details in the DSM and the major focus for ICD’s revision is to reduce the number of disorders to be mentioned

●       Diagnostic and statistical manual for mental disorders has proper operational criteria on which the therapists rely on whereas in ICD there is a description of the disorder and some guidance but it does not have criteria for disorders

Pros of DSM 5

●       Standardization of Diagnosis – it helps to ensure that patients receive appropriate and beneficial treatment irrespective of their location, social class or ability to pay. DSM 5 provides a practical assessment of the problems and helps to develop specific therapy goals and a standard of measure to assess treatment efficacy

●       Research Guidance – different groups of researchers are following the same diagnostic checklist to study the same disorder

●       Therapeutic guidance – many physicians don’t have the time to fully delve into the history and root causes of certain condition, so the DSM 5 criteria is a guide map to handle the symptoms present

Cons of DSM 5

●       Oversimplification of human behaviour

●       Misdiagnosis and over-diagnosis

●       Labelling and stigmatizing


The mental disorders are listed in the handbook of mental health professionals. There are two widely used mental health manuals named as ICD and DSM.

DSM is a widely used diagnostic manual published by the American Psychological Association and its latest version was published in 2013.

The list of mental disorders is discussed as well as the pros and cons of the manual are given.

The DSM explains all the psychological disorders that exist, but not the psychiatric ones. Such as Depersonalization.

Frequently Asked Questions for Mental disorders

What are the 5 most common mental disorders?

The 5 most common mental disorders are anxiety, mood, schizophrenia, dementia and eating disorders.

What are the 7 types of mental disorders?

The 7 types of mental disorders are mood disorders, anxiety disorders, personality disorders, psychotic disorders, eating disorders, trauma-related disorders, substance abuse disorder.

What is the most dangerous mental illness?

The most dangerous mental illness is Anorexia, as it is the most lethal disorder.

It carries four times the death risk than depression.

What are the top 10 mental illnesses?

The top 10 mental illnesses are as below:

Major Depressive Disorder and the Bereavement Exclusion, Mild Neurocognitive Disorder Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders, Paraphilic Disorders, Personality Disorder, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Schizophrenia, Sleep-Wake Disorders, Specific Learning Disorder, Social Communication Disorder, Somatic Symptom Disorder, Substance-Related and Addictive Disorders.

Please use the comment section below if you have any questions.


Psychiatry Online

Mental Help

Very Well Mind

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition: DSM 5

The Pocket Guide to the DSM 5(TM) Diagnostic Exam

DSM 5® Made Easy: The Clinician’s Guide to Diagnosis

DSM 5TM Handbook of Differential Diagnosis

DSM 5 Clinical Cases

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