Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders refers to a set of diagnostic standards used in the classification of mental disorders. These standards were formulated by the American Psychiatric Association and have undergone several revisions (Barlow, Durand & Stewart, 2009). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-fourth edition-Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR) is the latest edition. This diagnostic procedure classifies the mental disorders in different categories (prototypes). There is no discrete differentiation of the prototypes used in DSM-IV-TR. However, substantial clinical symptoms or symptoms that distract a person’s well functioning in social or occupational settings can be used to provide an approximation which prototype a patient may fall into. DSM-IV-TR classifies disorders into the following axes (Barlow, Durand & Stewart, 2009). Axis I: contains clinical disorders such as mental, learning and substance use disorders. Axis II: comprises of personality and intellectual disorders. Axis III: contains physical/brain disorders and acute medical illnesses. These disorders can either escalate existing conditions or show symptoms resembling other diseases. Axis IV: contains the psychosocial and environmental causes of the disorder. Axis V: contains Children’s Global Assessment Scale (for children under 18 years) (Barlow, Durand & Stewart, 2009). Therefore, clinicians may grade the condition as mild, moderate, or severe depending on the outcome of an overall assessment.

The observation of Stacy Jones presents symptoms of axis I (mental-anxiety) disorders. She insists that her mother should stay with her in the doctor’s chamber. For the last six years, she had never gone out without her mother’s company. Stacy had shown signs of timid behavior while in kindergarten. She also feared that something awful would happen. Stacy also presented axis II (antisocial) symptoms. This can be seen from Stacy’s inability to use public transport, such as buses and trains. Nervousness had caused her to flee from movie theaters, shopping malls and supermarkets. Stacy would be so nervous that she would pass out or wet herself. She would also feel terrified when left alone at home after her father’s burial. Stacy presented no symptoms for axis III. The economically unstable environment that Stacy and her mum faced could also be a contributing factor to her psychological disorders. Clinical history indicates that Stacy and her mum moved into a condominium after selling their house in order for Stacy to complete her education. The fact that her mother contemplated on applying for disability assistance proves their financial instability. This contribution falls under axis IV. However, Stacy showed no signs for axis V.

Differential diagnosis based on the DSM-IV-TR provides substantial symptoms to believe that Stacy could have a Psychological disorder. Stacy’s observation illustrates symptoms of psychological disorder. Three out of the five axes provide some evidence of a psychological disorder. Axis I suggests a possibility of anxiety disorders and axis II indicates antisocial symptoms. On the other hand, axis III illustrates the contribution of psychosocial and environmental factors. Type I diabetes symptoms include polyuria, polydipsia and ployphagia. The symptoms show no correlation between Stacy’s Diabetic condition and psychological disorder.

The diabetic condition of Stacy cannot be linked to her psychological condition. Type I diabetes stems from immunological malfunctions that destroy the pancreas. Type I diabetes does not have a direct link to psychological disorders. Thus, the aspect of co-morbidity can be ruled out. Stacy could be suffering from both a psychological disorder and Type I diabetes.


Barlow, D., Durand, V., and Stewart, S. (2009). Abnormal Psychology: An Integrative Approach. Ontario: Nelson Education Limited.

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