What is a mental/psychiatric disorder? from DSM-IV to DSM-V

D. J. Stein, K. A. Phillips, D. Bolton, K. W.M. Fulford, J. Z. Sadler, K. S. Kendler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

299 Scopus citations


The distinction between normality and psychopathology has long been subject to debate. DSM-III and DSM-IV provided a definition of mental disorder to help clinicians address this distinction. As part of the process of developing DSM-V, researchers have reviewed the concept of mental disorder and emphasized the need for additional work in this area. Here we review the DSM-IV definition of mental disorder and propose some changes. The approach taken here arguably takes a middle course through some of the relevant conceptual debates. We agree with the view that no definition perfectly specifies precise boundaries for the concept of mental/psychiatric disorder, but in line with a view that the nomenclature can improve over time, we aim here for a more scientifically valid and more clinically useful definition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1759-1765
Number of pages7
JournalPsychological Medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Mental disorder
  • nosology
  • philosophy
  • psychiatric disorder


Dive into the research topics of 'What is a mental/psychiatric disorder? from DSM-IV to DSM-V'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this