DSM-IV. Most widely used diagnostic classification system(DSM) was first published in 1952. DSM-IV adopts a descriptive approach. It defines mental D/Os in terms of the behavioral signs and Sx, characterizing the various disorders on the basis of their shared characteristics.
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…a clinically significant behavioral or psychological syndrome or pattern that occurs in an individual and that is associated with present distress…or disability…or with a significantly increased risk of suffering death, pain, disability, or an important loss of freedom. In addition, this syndrome or pattern must not be merely an expectable response to a particular event… Whatever its original cause, it must currently be considered a manifestation of behavioral, psychological, or biological dysfunction in the individual. Neither deviant behavior (e.g.... political, religious, or sexual) nor conflicts that are primarily between the individual and society are mental disorders unless the deviance or conflict is a symptom of a dysfunction in the individual, as described above.