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Research Background 

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) will be published in May 2013. The 19-year period between the introduction of DSM-IV in 1994 and the release of DSM-5 may prove to be the most scientifically productive era in the history of psychiatry. Researchers have generated a wealth of knowledge about the prevalence and distribution of mental disorders worldwide, the physiology of the brain, and the lifelong influences of genes and environment on a person’s health and behavior. Moreover, the introduction of scientific technologies ranging from brain imaging tools to sophisticated new methods for mathematically analyzing research data has greatly enriched the potential for significant enhancements of DSM-5 over previous editions of the manual.

Early on, the APA recognized that rapid, continuing advances in the science of psychiatry would greatly increase the challenges of revising the DSM. A lesson learned while preparing DSM-IV in the late 1980s concerned the importance of enriching the empirical research base prior to starting the formal revision process. A decade later, it had become apparent that new knowledge and analytic capacities indeed would make it possible to anticipate and answer many of the data-driven questions likely to be raised by those tasked with updating the diagnostic manual.

Since the revision process for DSM-5 officially began in 1999, the members of the DSM-5 Task Force and Work Groups have been steadily building the literature base on psychiatric diagnosis and psychopathology. To learn more about their specific activities and contributions, follow the links below.

Related Links

  American Psychiatric Association