The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: Benefits and Challenges

Subject: Psychiatry
Pages: 1
Words: 316
Reading time:
2 min
Study level: College

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) has been essential in guiding healthcare officials with the criteria of diagnosing mental disorders. Through DSM, medical professionals learn the common symptoms of diagnosing various mental disorders. It also offers common language that enables psychiatrists to communicate with their patients, which is essential in forming a solid foundation for mental disorders research (Abdullah & Brown, 2020). Through research, medical professionals can develop effective medication for common mental disorders. DSM has provided the basis for explaining uncommon behaviors associated with mental disorders. Through DSM, patients can understand their conditions, thus relieving them of their stress.

On the negative side, DSM labelling of patients has been associated with various risks, including stigmatization. DSM labelling stigma has been found to have a profound negative impact on the patients’ mental health. Labelling patients tend to experience difficulties having healthy relationships with their caregivers, families and those around them (Abdullah & Brown, 2020). As a result of alteration in their behavior, patients can negatively influence the clinical research process. Labelled patients tend to link their conditions with the popular cultural beliefs associated with people suffering from the diagnosed condition. Most cultural and societal beliefs associate mental disorders with negative traits such as insanity, violence and incompetence. Therefore, labelled patients are likely to attract negative feelings when associated with such mental disorders. This can cause self-alienation and trigger feelings of loneliness, affecting the normal interaction between the patient and those around them (Abdullah & Brown, 2020). Other labelled patients may develop defensive behavior for fear of suffering rejection.

In conclusion, DSM has provided effective guidelines to healthcare professionals to monitor and diagnose various mental disorders. It has also been essential in developing future medical interventions for mental disorders. However, the stigma associated with the process has made many patients reluctant to participate in the research process. This has impacted DSM clinical research negatively.


Abdullah, T., & Brown, T. L. (2020). Diagnostic labeling and mental illness stigma among Black Americans: An experimental vignette study. Stigma and Health, 5(1), 11.