The field of psychology has changed dramatically over time with the development of new theories and techniques of screening and assessment especially for mental illness. Due to the growth of this knowledge, treatment of individuals and groups has improved. This essay will focus on the changes made in what is considered a mental illness.
The changes in the diagnosis of mental illness have led to the development of numerous definitions and criteria that are considered as mental illness. In the United States, mental disorders are classified in the DSM or the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders. This manual is the standard that mental professionals such as psychologists and psychiatrists use to diagnose mental disorders. The manual includes three sections that cover diagnosis classification, criteria sets and descriptive tests (American Psychological Association, 2000).
There are many classifications of mental disorders that exist which have changed over the past millennia. Over the years there has often been little agreement on what disorders should be classified as mental disorders. Some systems use a small number of categories whereas other systems use many categories to diagnose mental disorders. The differences in these systems lies in the primary objective of the diagnosis which may be clinical, research or statistical. The development of the DMS manual started in the 1800’s with seven categories of mental illness. The manual has changed overtime to the current detailed version of DMS-5. The international classification of diseases has a section on mental disorders that indicates the criteria.
There has been a tremendous improvement in the diagnosis of mental disorders over the years. However, the number of people with mental disorders has also dramatically increased over the years. Extensive research in the diagnosis of mental disorders can improve the area number of diagnosis. Research can offer explanations as to why the number of people with mental disorders is on the rise. Medical and mental health professionals believe that a thorough analysis of the social factors is critical to understanding the reasons for this high numbers. The DSM -5 manual is a useful tool; however, it omits a critical factor which is the social determinants of mental disorders.