Article Text

Download PDFPDF
DSM-5 and the rise of the diagnostic checklist
  1. Steve Pearce
  1. Correspondence to Dr Steve Pearce, Oxfordshire Complex Needs Service, Oxford, OX4 1XE, UK; steve.pearce{at}

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

The development and publication of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition (DSM-5) produced a peak in mainstream media interest in psychiatry, and a large and generally critical set of scientific commentaries. The coverage has focused mainly on the expansion of some categories, and loosening of some criteria, which together may lead to more people receiving diagnoses, and accompanying accusations of the medicalisation of normal living. Instructions given to members of DSM-5 work groups appear to have encouraged this.1 This has not been the only source of disquiet. The influence of the pharmaceutical industry on the members of the appointees to DSM diagnostic work groups, which constructed the new rubrics, has caused concern,2 as remuneration and insurance coverage in the USA depends partly on DSM diagnosis, and the pharmaceutical industry has been accused of encouraging the development of new diagnoses as a way to increase profitability.3 Societal impact has been an explicit part of the development of DSM-5, as outlined in the article in this issue.4 Reasons for decisions by DSM-5 workgroups have included enabling sufferers to receive treatment which would not be available without a DSM diagnosis (a local US concern), or …

View Full Text


  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

Linked Articles