Can Neuroscience be integrated into the DSM-V?, by Steven Hyman
Hyman defines “mental disorders” as a “diverse group of brain disorders” principally affecting “emotion, higher cognition and executive function.” In fact, for him, the expression “mental disorders” is an “unfortunate anachronism” dating back to an era when the conditions thus named “were not universally understood to reflect abnormalities of brain structure, connectivity or function.” Widespread as it is, such conviction is, as just mentioned, invariably accompanied by the equally general acknowledgment that identifying precise neural abnormalities underlying those disorders has “stubbornly defied” research efforts (Hyman 2007, 725).
To date, the diagnosis of mental disorders has been based on clinical observation, specifically: the identification of symptoms that tend to cluster together, the timing of the symptoms' appearance, and their tendency to resolve, recur or become chronic. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and the International Classification of Disease, the manuals that specify these diagnoses and the criteria for making them, are currently undergoing revision. It is thus timely to ask whether neuroscience has progressed to the point that the next editions of these manuals can usefully incorporate information about brain structure and function.
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