Classification of Psychiatric Disorders

  • Yong-Ku Kim
  • Seon-Cheol ParkEmail author
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 1192)


Because of the poor link between psychiatric diagnosis and neurobiological findings, it is difficult to classify mental disorders. The changes made to psychiatric diagnostic systems over the years can be understood in terms of “practical conservatism.” The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)-I and DSM-II were theoretically supported by the psychoanalytic and psychodynamic approach. Subsequently, psychiatric diagnoses of this kind were opposed by the anti-psychiatry movement, as well as by the findings of the Rosenhan experiment. Thus, the DSM-III revolution contained more empiricism, aligning psychiatry with biomedicine. Psychiatric diagnoses are classified and defined in terms of Kraepelinian dualism, using a categorical approach. The empirical trend was continued in the DSM-IV. To overcome the limitations of current psychiatric diagnostic systems and integrate fundamental genetic, neurobiological, behavioral, environmental, and experimental components into psychiatry, the Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) were established. To overcome the limitations of the categorical approach, psychiatrists have considered adopting a dimensional approach. However, their efforts were frustrated in the DSM-5 revision process. Thus, the DSM-5 is characterized by the rearrangement of psychiatric diagnoses, the partial adoption of a dimensional approach, the introduction of new diagnoses, and harmonization with the International Classification of Diseases.


Categorical approach Dimensional approach Psychiatric diagnosis DSM Research domain criteria (RDoC) 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryCollege of Medicine, Korea University Ansan HospitalAnsanRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryInje University Haeundae Paik HospitalBusanRepublic of Korea

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