The Diagnostic Process in Mental Health

The diagnostic process in mental health

Diagnosis is defined as the process used by clinicians to determine whether a person’s signs and symptoms fit a particular syndrome in a way that is causing them significant distress, disability and/or risk. Classifying an individual with a mental health disorder has caused much debate over the years with clinicians using the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM) and the international statistical classification of diseases and related health problems (ICD). Using these classification systems for mental disorders has developed into tightly constrained diagnostic categories in an attempt to make the process of diagnosis as thorough, systematic and objective as possible which has made people wonder on whether it is a valid and reliable way of diagnosing an individual. With this in mind I am going to be writing an essay on the diagnostic process in mental health with reference to an extract given to students by the Open University.

The DSM 5 has appeared to have caused some controversy with not just a new definition that they have given to mental disorders: “A behavioral or psychological syndrome or pattern that occurs in an individual that reflects an underlying psychobiological dysfunction” (Speak Out Against Psychiatry, 2013) but it also looks at different individuals/organisation’s viewpoints of why they withdraw support of the new classification system-the DSM 5.

One view put forward by Thomas R. Insel, M.D., Director of the NIMH suggests that “The weakness of the manual ….is its lack of validity.” (Speak Out Against Psychiatry 2013). This is very important when diagnosing an individual because as much as the system is trying to be objective when measuring mental phenomena, it can be seen as slightly subjective due to the fact that if someone is classified as having a mental health disorder it often involves the interpretation of subjective traits that cannot be observed or measured overtly....