The Dsm iv depression measurement tool is currently what is being used to measure depression and other mental disorders in presenting subjects. This abbreviation stands for the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders-fourth addition and is published by the American psychiatric association. This is valuable tool that helps health professionals to get a handle on the depth to which depression has taken hold in the subject and the extent of the problem. The dsm iv depression model also serves as a valuable tool for physicians to discuss amoung themselves the problems that patients are having and to compare and contrast results they are getting. When there are set criteria like this they can be more sure that they are on the “same page” when they are talking about depression in a particular subject or in general.
Depression itself can be difficult to pin down as it has a number of symptoms that can vary in intensity and by how much they bother the client. This is where the dsm iv depression information really comes into its own and becomes really useful at giving the physician something really concrete to look for when making a diagnosis and then looking at treatment options. When the physician is trying to diagnose any mental disorder including depression there are four categories that they look for the symptoms to fall into. The physician will first of all look at affective or mood symptoms which might include things like the emotions of guilt and worthlessness, behavioural symptoms which include things like withdrawal and agitation, cognitive issues like difficulty in making decisions and concentrating, and somatic symptoms like insomnia and hyper insomnia. The use of this model of diagnosis has received a balanced review in a recent review article for by Evandro, Thiana and Gustavo de Matos where is was claimed that the “DSM iv has provided significant advances in clinical practise, but they go on to say that it “is limited, as it does not replace the classical treaties of psychology, psychotherapy and psychiatry”.
One important distinction that physicians would be keen to make when it comes to using the Dsm iv depression model is that this a model that is used to categorise mental illness, is not used to put the person themselves in a box. In other words the physician is saying that the person has a particular symptom rather than saying that the person is the symptom itself. This applies in much the same way as we would refer to physical illnesses in that we would say something like the person had heart disease or lung disease rather than saying that the person is the disease itself.
The effects of using a categorisation system like the dsm iv depression guide may go a couple of different ways when it comes to the person themselves that has the problem. One the one hand the person might experience themselves as having a label in negative way and it may become part of their identity or how they see themselves. In a case such as this the label of depression can be a difficult thing for them to shake off and may affect their progress. Then on the other hand you have people who respond really well to the news that they have a particular type of depression and then perhaps see themselves as having a mental illness just like they would any type of physical illness for which they need treatment for. They may get a healthy sense of separation between themselves and what they are feeling which can make it a lot easier for them to cope with depression.
Ultimately using a system like this may have no effect at all on the person’s personal sense of well being, after all knowing and categorising what something is does not necessarily mean that you can now cope with it a lot better or that you will feel better in any shape or form. I think the best thing about the dsm iv depression model is that it helps the doctors to but a solid definition on what they are discussing in terms of depression so they can have a clearer idea about what they are dealing with and how to treat it.
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