The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) was originally developed in 1952 to help doctors and counselors across the country standardize the classifications of mental disorders in the American population. Throughout the intervening years, the DSM has gone through several revisions, establishing specific diagnostic criteria for each disorder listed, and revising disorders as more was understood about their origins, symptoms, and treatments. The DSM III (1980) marks the point when substance use disorders were moved to a category of their own, separate from personality disorders. Today, the current DSM lists the diagnostic criteria for substance use disorders.
While these standardized diagnostic practices have been in use for more than sixty years, there are some pros and cons in the use of the DSM diagnoses of substance use disorders in the assessment of clients.
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