There are many opinions about effective use of the DSM-IV-TR classification system to make diagnoses that will guide a choice of a treatment approach. Mental health professionals are trying to find effective way in patients’ treatment using different diagnostic categories and labels for the best choice of appropriate treatment methods; thus we are going to evaluate both advantages and disadvantages to the practice of diagnosing and labeling psychological disorders.
The study of etiology, clinic and the dynamics of a personality disorder convinces us that personality pathology is of great interest to the general and forensic psychiatry, psychology and social sciences. The study of psychological disorders is described in more than century-long history of development; thus, the study of psychopathological, biological and social mechanisms of pathogenesis and the social and legal aspects of the place were connected for a long time. Nowadays modern development of psychological sciences involves the use of the entire spectrum of research in the frames of clinical approach, from pathopsychological techniques and clinical interview to biochemical and electrophysiological methods.
Thinking about the advantages of diagnosis and classification in mental health settings we can mention that the DSM-IV-TR classification system presents a system of five axes or dimensions that allows to cover all aspects of both mental and emotional patient’s health (Maddux and Winstead, 2005). The main advantage of this classification is in fact that DSM-IV-TR helps to understand a more comprehensive picture of not only complex, but also concurrent mental disorders. Medical professional receives an opportunity to find not only diagnostic criteria but also descriptive text there. This kind of classification allows to make a theoretical conclusion about a patient’s state and then it helps to continue practical investigation of mental disorder.
Evaluating the disadvantages of diagnosis and classification in mental health settings it is necessary to pay a specific attention to the fact that some mental health professionals locate only one psychological disorder in personality, excluding an opportunity to treat not a disease but a whole person, because every psychological disorder has deep roots and treatment could be effective only in a case when the whole person will be examined using different diagnosing methods. In addition to this information Cohen stated that “the symptom-based approach has also made it easier to politicize the process of defining new disorders for inclusion in DSM or dropping older ones. The inclusion of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and the deletion of homosexuality as a disorder are often cited as examples of this concern for political correctness” (Cohen, 2003).
Explaining the specific advantages or disadvantages to the practice of diagnosing and labeling psychological disorders from a multicultural perspective it becomes understandable that sometimes it is easier to just give drugs to a patient than to investigate a patient’s specific features, paying attention to ethnic characteristic. In this case diagnosing a person with a specific mental disorder can be an error and it would destroy person’s life, but it is impossible not to mention that potential benefits of diagnosing is also great, because making a right diagnosis helps to find the decision and give a relief to patient. Thus, only competent doctor should be involved in such kind of diagnosing practice, because an incompetent doctor may ignore cultural or other factors (for example, idiosyncrasy) of a patient and may draw wrong conclusions about appropriate treatment.
In conclusion, basing on previous information it is possible to say that in many cases advantages of diagnosing overweight possible disadvantages, because many people need a psychiatric aid, and only the accurateness with which mental health professionals will diagnose psychiatric disorder and then communicate it to patient can change existed situation in medical area to the better side.
Cohen, B. Theory and Practice of Psychiatry. Oxford University Press, 2003.
Maddux, J. and Winstead, B. Psychopathology: Foundations for a Contemporary Understanding. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2005.