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HALL OF FAMEon 5 January 2006
We are in the in-between time, the DSM-IV being over a decade old, and the DSM-V being due out at some unspecified date, but giving the general publication rate of the major DSM revisions and the advance of general knowledge, it cannot be too far into the future. I have the DSM-IV, burgundy-cover edition, and have dipped into the DSM-IV-TR on occasion from the library, but have found no particular reason to need to purchase the TR silver edition for the kind of work I do.
This is a guide that is useful, indeed required, for graduate students in mental health and psychological fields, and for professionals working in those fields. As a pastoral care provider, I find it useful in many cases, but will warn that it is not a definitive tool to be used by itself in the hands of laypersons (which, in terms of professional psychology, I most certainly am). Symptoms and diagnoses are difficult to isolate, and not to be left in the hands of amateurs - to that end, I often worry about the general availability of books such as this (I have a similar fear for the PDR, the Physicians Desk Reference, whereby people try to self-diagnose and self-medicate based on their reading).
The DSM-IV is not without controversy - indeed, the whole psychological enterprise is not without controversy. However, this is the current standard by which the profession measures itself (sometimes a bit in opposition, but there are few who hold the DSM to be meaningless).
Professionals will want to have this book; graduate students may or may not need this particular revision.
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on 3 September 2010
Covers the widely known disorders (mood, anxiety, schizophrenia) in good depth, but then shoots itself in the foot by including stuff like "mathematics disorder" - if being bad at maths means people are mentally disordered, then count me in!!!. The APA just threw everything in to the IV-TR - good and bad.

The dsm is due soon for an overhaul, so I`d wait for the next edition to be published. Unless you need the dsm for academic purposes NOW, I`d use the WHO`s ICD online version as an equally valid alternative.

A more useful book for people working in mental health services would be "Call Me Crazy" by Irit Shimrat.
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on 25 February 2002
This DSM-IV Text revision serves as a bridge across the old DSM IV and the next DSM V.
In this text revision the reader cannot find substantial changes of the diagnostic criteria, but only an augmented revision of the parts which present and describe the various disorders.
It could be interpreted as a little change, yet the augmented parts of the text are often very important, since they provide an integration of scientific knowledge to the data of the last ten years.
It is to be remembered that the changes and augmentations of the text are distributed in a very dense manner and involve chiefly the statistical and epidemiological data, the parts concerning "diagnostic characteristics", "differential diagnosis", "linked disorders", "prevalence", "illness course", together with amendments of minimal mistakes and an amelioration of the text which is now clearer, with a didactic purpose.
Some examples of relevant changes of the texts can be found for the subtypes of the "Iperactivity-attention deficit disorder", codes and list of the causes of dementias, linked laboratory findings and differential diagnosis, risk genetic factors and the most recent prevalence data in U.S.A.
An important extension can be found in the text about the laboratory data linked with skizophrenia, which are updated to the neurophysiological, neurocognitive and neuroimaging data of the nineties.
The concept of"skizophrenia spectrum" has also been introduced.
A similar revision can be found in the sections concerning epidemiology, laboratory and linked disorders of "Mood disorders."
In the Anxiety disorders area important updates concern the familiarity data of all disorders, while an important update can be found in the Post-traumatic stress disorder subsection concerning linked characteristics, comorbidity, illness course and prevalence in different populations and in different types of trauma, higher vulnerability in patients with a history of depression.
In the Axis II disorders it is chiefly relevant the evidence of a good long-term prognosis for Border-line personality disorder and the false difference between males and females concerning the prevalence in Dependent personality disorder.
In the appendices various little changes are also introduced and atypical antipsychotics are now included in the Medication-induced movement disorders subsection.
Generally speaking and as far as the epidemiological and clinical updates are concerned, together with important trends for research and didactic activity, this DSM IV TR is surely a most useful and authoritative purchase.
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on 11 July 2012
I bought a new copy of DSM-IV-TR for around £22 here on Amazon.co.uk. It's an Indian edition with the same text. The quality is lower than the original versions I've seen but the binding seems secure. This is perfectly readable, lighter weight (still a tome!) and a fraction of the price. I'm very happy with it.
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on 10 May 2014
As Americanized as you can get. This book is often referred to as the 'Psychiatrist's Bible', I'd call it a mish-mash of unproven hypothesis and supposition by academics who haven't got the slightest idea about mental health in its raw self. You have to have experienced the issues you talk of in human terms, not statistically as this book does. Humans are just that, we are not numbers and experiments are always going to be flawed.

Scathing criticism out of the way, the book, now updated, is an absolute must for any budding psychologist or practitioner wanting to enter the field of mental health. It's inaccurate in parts but as a whole its very good indeed.
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on 26 March 2014
This is a magnificent reference book. I bought it for my psychotherapy course
and would recommend it to anyone considering doing any course in that field.
It is well laid out and easy to follow.
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on 21 March 1998
The DSM-IV has taken its share of knocks recently, perhapsmost powerfully from Herb Kutchins, and Stuart A. Kirk in Making Us Crazy : DSM : The Psychiatric Bible and the Creation of Mental Disorders (Free Press, 1997). Yet virtually nobody involved in any of the helping/human service professions can afford to practice without the DSM-IV, or one of its spin-offs, on his or her desk. It is rumored that lawyers have bought more copies than psychiatrists, but the American Psychiatric Press isn't telling. Full of flaws, contradictions, and sheer nonsensicalities, the DSM-IV nonetheless stands as the best the scientific world has devised in describing and diagnosing mental illnesses.
People who don't believe in mental illness, who think most psychiatrists are stranger than their patients, or who think that meditation, oriental massage, or past life regression are all the solutions we need to human problems will find no comfort in the DSM-IV. Neither will those who don't consider a science to be real unless its state of development permits its concepts to be expressed in equations rather than mere language. But in a world full of nervous, despondent, deluded, nasty, selfish, withdrawn, and otherwise troubled and troublesome folks, the DSM-IV, imperfect as are the people it describes and who compiled it, is the best guide we have in trying to make sense of it all.
^M^MA 14 year old boy is depressed. Is it just a phase, or is it serious enough to require medication to prevent his suicide? A 57 year old woman starts believing that her neighbors are pumping poison gas into her apartment. Does she need a gas mask, reassurance, brain surgery, or Prozac? A 30 year old woman is fondled in a supermarket and wants five million dollars from the store's owners for the emotional suffering she will experience for the rest of her life. Is she re-experiencing traumatic episodes of childhood abuse or is she a swindler? Stunningly important questions, all. Do we have perfect answers? No way. But do we need help in grappling with them? We sure do.
^M^MThe DSM-IV is powerfully political, full of bad science, and is probably over-valued in every setting in which it isused. Yet it represents the best summary of the work of thousands of people, all struggling to solve some of the most crucial problems we face in medicine, psychology, law, and social welfare. We need the DSM-IV critics, but we also need the DSM-IV.
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on 11 February 2013
Unfortunately, due to poor packaging, the book arrived damaged. The book is a textbook for my daughter who is studying psychology and she is very pleased with it and says that it is a reference book that she will use for years.
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on 12 April 1999
I have found this book to be very useful for various essays that I have had to write. I don't know what the first guy was smoking, perhaps he has a lot of disorders and is in denial.
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on 24 July 1998
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV referring to the 4th edition) is often called "the psychiatrist's bible." Like a certain other Bible, DSM-IV is not holy writ (and indeed, in the introduction it explicitly states that the criteria contained therein are intended to be used only as guidelines), but it does provide an interesting look at Western culture. The evolution of the DSM has been fascinating, and I'm sure that when the next edition comes out, those of us who weren't involved in the writing will look upon the changes with curiosity and interest. (Those who were involved in the construction of this book may no longer be on speaking terms! It's an incredibly political undertaking, and I admire them for having the courage and the persistence to carry it through.)
Some of the disorders defined in DSM-IV, such as the Substance-Related Disorders and the relatively new diagnosis of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, bear a razor! -sharp specificity and resemblance to reality. The well-established Psychotic Disorders, often considered the most severe type of mental illness, and the Mood and Personality Disorders, which the meat and potatoes of psychiatry, will no doubt continue to evolve, and I will look forward to seeing the next edition of this exciting book.
Not to be missed are the delightful appendices, which include such gems as the Defensive Functioning Scale and a number of tentative "investigational criteria sets - descriptions of disorders which are not presently diagnosed (officially) but which may be in the future.
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