The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is published by the American Psychiatric Association and provides diagnostic criteria for mental disorders. It is used in the United States and in varying degrees around the world, by clinicians, researchers, psychiatric drug regulation agencies, health insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies and policy makers.
The DSM has attracted controversy and criticism as well as praise. There have been five revisions since it was first published in 1952, gradually including more disorders, though some have been removed and are no longer considered to be mental disorders. It initially evolved out of systems for collecting census and psychiatric hospital statistics, and from a manual developed by the US Army. The last major revision was the DSM-IV published in 1994, although a "text revision" was produced in 2000. The DSM-V is currently in consultation, planning and preparation, due for publication in May 2012. An early draft will be released for comment in 2009.  The mental disorders section of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD) is another commonly-used guide, used more often in some parts of the world. The two classifications have developed alongside each other and use the same diagnostic codes.
The initial impetus for developing a classification of mental disorders in the United States was the need to collect statistical information. The first official attempt was the 1840 census which used a single category, "idiocy/insanity". The 1880 census distinguished among seven categories: mania, melancholia, monomania, paresis, dementia, dipsomania, and epilepsy. In 1917, a "Committee on Statistics" from what is now known as the American Psychiatric Association (APA), together with the National Commission on Mental Hygiene, developed a new guide for mental hospitals called the "Statistical Manual for the Use of Institutions for the Insane", which included 22 diagnoses. This was subsequently revised several times by APA over the years. APA, along with the New York Academy of Medicine, also provided the psychiatric nomenclature subsection of the US medical guide, the "Standard Classified Nomenclature of Disease", referred to as the "Standard".
World War II saw the large-scale involvement of US psychiatrists in the selection, processing, assessment and treatment of soldiers. This moved the focus away from mental institutions and traditional clinical perspectives. A committee headed by psychiatrist and brigadier general William C. Menninger developed a new classification scheme called Medical 203, issued in 1943 as a "War Department Technical Bulletin" under the auspices of the Office of the Surgeon General. The foreword to the DSM-I states the US Navy had itself made some minor revisions but "the Army established a much more sweeping revision, abandoning the basic outline of the Standard and attempting to express present day concepts of mental disturbance. This nomenclature eventually was adopted by all Armed Forces", and "assorted modifications of the Armed Forces nomenclature [were] introduced into many clinics and hospitals by psychiatrists returning from military duty." The Veterans Administration also adopted a slightly modified version of Medical 203.
In 1949, the World Health Organization published the sixth revision of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases (ICD) which included a section on mental disorders for the first time. The foreword to DSM-1 states this "categorized mental disorders in rubrics similar to those of the Armed Forces nomenclature." An APA Committee on Nomenclature and Statistics was empowered to develop a version specifically for use in the United States, to standardize the diverse and confused usage of different documents. In 1950 the APA committee undertook a review and consultation. It circulated an adaptation of Medical 203, the VA system and the Standard's Nomenclature, to approximately 10% of APA members. 46% replied, of which 93% approved, and after some further revisions (resulting in it being called DSM-I), the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders was approved in 1951 and published in 1952. The structure and conceptual framework were the same as in Medical 203, and many passages of text identical. The manual was 130 pages long and listed 106 mental disorders.
Although the APA was closely involved in the next significant revision of the mental disorder section of the ICD (version 8 in 1968), it decided to also go ahead with a revision of the DSM. It was also published in 1968, listed 182 disorders, and was 134 pages long. It was quite similar to the DSM-I. The term “reaction” was dropped but the term “neurosis” was retained. Both the DSM-I and the DSM-II reflected the predominant psychodynamic psychiatry, although they also included biological perspectives and concepts from Kraepelin's system of classification. Symptoms were not specified in detail for specific disorders. Many were seen as reflections of broad underlying conflicts or maladaptive reactions to life problems, rooted in a distinction between neurosis and psychosis (roughly, anxiety/depression broadly in touch with reality, or hallucinations/delusions appearing disconnected from reality). Sociological and biological knowledge was also incorporated, in a model that did not emphasize a clear boundary between normality and abnormality.
In 1974, the decision to create a new revision of the DSM was made, and Robert Spitzer was selected as chairman of the task force. The initial impetus was to make the DSM nomenclature consistent with the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD), published by the World Health Organization. The revision took on a far wider mandate under the influence and control of Spitzer and his chosen committee members. One goal was to improve the uniformity of psychiatric diagnosis in the wake of a number of critiques, including the famous Rosenhan experiment. There was also a perceived need to standardize diagnostic practices within the US and with other countries. The establishment of these criteria was also an attempt to facilitate the pharmaceutical regulatory process.
The criteria adopted for many of the mental disorders were taken from the Research Diagnostic Criteria (RDC) and Feighner Criteria, which had just been developed by a group of research-orientated psychiatrists based primarily at Washington University and the New York State Psychiatric Institute. Other criteria, and potential new categories of disorder, were established by a consensus during meetings of the committee, as chaired by Spitzer. A key aim was to base categorization on colloquial English descriptive language (which would be easier to use by Federal administrative offices), rather than assumptions of etiology, although its categorical approach assumed each particular pattern of symptoms in a category reflected a particular underlying pathology (an approach described as "neo-Kraepelinian”). The psychodynamic or physiologic view was abandoned, in favor of a regulatory or legislative model. A new "multiaxial" system attempted to yield a picture more amenable to a statistical population census, rather than just a simple diagnosis. Spitzer argued, “mental disorders are a subset of medical disorders” but the task force decided on the DSM statement: “Each of the mental disorders is conceptualized as a clinically significant behavioral or psychological syndrome.”
The first draft of the DSM-III was prepared within a year. Many new categories of disorder were introduced; a number of the unpublished documents that aim to justify them have recently come to light. Field trials sponsored by the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) were conducted between 1977 and 1979 to test the reliability of the new diagnoses. A controversy emerged regarding deletion of the concept of neurosis, a mainstream of psychoanalytic theory and therapy but seen as vague and unscientific by the DSM task force. Faced with enormous political opposition, so the DSM-III was in serious danger of not being approved by the APA Board of Trustees unless “neurosis” was included in some capacity, a political compromise reinserted the term in parentheses after the word “disorder” in some cases. In 1980, the DSM-III was published, at 494 pages long and listing 265 diagnostic categories. The DSM-III rapidly came into widespread international use by multiple stakeholders and has been termed a revolution or transformation in psychiatry.  .
In 1987 the DSM-III-R was published as a revision of DSM-III, under the direction of Spitzer. Categories were renamed, reorganized, and significant changes in criteria were made. Six categories were deleted while others were added. Controversial diagnoses such as pre-menstrual dysphoric disorder and Masochistic Personality Disorder were considered and discarded. Altogether, DSM-III-R contained 292 diagnoses and was 567 pages long.
In 1994, DSM-IV was published, listing 297 disorders in 886 pages. The task force was chaired by Allen Frances. A steering committee of 27 people was introduced, including four psychologists. The steering committee created 13 work groups of 5–16 members. Each work group had approximately 20 advisers. The work groups conducted a three step process. First, each group conducted an extensive literature review of their diagnoses. Then they requested data from researchers, conducting analyses to determine which criteria required change, with instructions to be conservative. Finally, they conducted multicenter field trials relating diagnoses to clinical practice.  A major change from previous versions was the inclusion of a clinical significance criterion to almost half of all the categories, which required symptoms cause “clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning”.
A "Text Revision" of the DSM-IV, known as the DSM-IV-TR, was published in 2000. The diagnostic categories and the vast majority of the specific criteria for diagnosis were unchanged. The text sections giving extra information on each diagnosis were updated, as were some of the diagnostic codes in order to maintain consistency with the ICD.
Many mental health professionals use this book to help communicate a patient's diagnosis after an evaluation. Many hospitals, clinics, and insurance companies require a 'five axis' DSM diagnosis of all the patients seen. The DSM can be consulted for the diagnostic criteria. It does not address the method of the evaluation or treatment. The DSM is less frequently used by health professionals who do not specialize in mental health.
Another use of the DSM is for research purposes. Studies done on specific diseases often recruit patients whose symptoms match the criteria listed in the DSM for that disease. An international survey of psychiatrists in 66 countries comparing use of the ICD-10 and DSM-IV found the former was more often used for clinical diagnosis while the latter was more valued for research.
The DSM-IV is a categorical classification system. The categories are prototypes, and a patient with a close approximation to the prototype is said to have that disorder. DSM-IV states, “there is no assumption each category of mental disorder is a completely discrete entity with absolute boundaries...” but isolated, low-grade and noncriterion (unlisted for a given disorder) symptoms are not given importance. Qualifiers are sometimes used, for example mild, moderate or severe forms of a disorder. For nearly half the disorders, symptoms must be sufficient to cause “clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning", although DSM-IV-TR removed the distress criterion from tic disorders and several of the paraphilias. Each category of disorder has a numeric code taken from the ICD coding system, used for health service (including insurance) administrative purposes.
The DSM-IV organizes each psychiatric diagnosis into five levels (axes) relating to different aspects of disorder or disability:
Common Axis II disorders include personality disorders: paranoid personality disorder, schizoid personality disorder, schizotypal personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, histrionic personality disorder, avoidant personality disorder, dependent personality disorder, obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, and mental retardation.
Common Axis III disorders include brain injuries and other medical/physical disorders which may aggravate existing diseases or present symptoms similar to other disorders.
The DSM-IV-TR states, because it is produced for the completion of Federal legislative mandates, its use by people without clinical training can lead to inappropriate application of its contents. Appropriate use of the diagnostic criteria is said to require extensive clinical training, and its contents “cannot simply be applied in a cookbook fashion”. The APA notes diagnostic labels are primarily for use as a “convenient shorthand” among professionals. The DSM advises laypersons should consult the DSM only to obtain information, not to make diagnoses, and people who may have a mental disorder should be referred to psychiatric counseling or treatment. Further, a shared diagnosis/label may have different etiologies (causes) or require different treatments; the DSM contains no information regarding treatment or cause for this reason. The range of the DSM represents an extensive scope of psychiatric and psychological issues or conditions, and it is not exclusive to what may be considered “illnesses”.
The DSM-IV doesn't specifically cite its sources, but there are four volumes of "sourcebooks" intended to be APA's documentation of the guideline development process and supporting evidence, including literature reviews, data analyses and field trials.    The Sourcebooks have been said to provide important insights into the character and quality of the decisions that led to the production of DSM-IV, and hence the scientific credibility of contemporary psychiatric classification. 
The DSM-V is tentatively scheduled for publication in 2012. In 1999, a DSM–V Research Planning Conference, sponsored jointly by APA and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), was held to set the research priorities. Research Planning Work Groups produced "white papers" on the research needed to inform and shape the DSM-IV, and the resulting work and recommendations were reported in an APA monograph and peer-reviewed literature. There were six workgroups, each focusing on a broad topic: Nomenclature, Neuroscience and Genetics, Developmental Issues and Diagnosis, Personality and Relational Disorders, Mental Disorders and Disability, and Cross-Cultural Issues. Three additional white papers were also due by 2004 concerning gender issues, diagnostic issues in the geriatric population, and mental disorders in infants and young children. The white papers have been followed by a series of conferences to produce recommendations relating to specific disorders and issues, with attendance limited to 25 invited researchers.
On July 23rd 2007, the APA announced the task force that will oversee the development of DSM-V. The DSM-V Task Force consists of 27 members, including a chair and vice chair, who collectively represent research scientists from psychiatry and other disciplines, clinical care providers, and consumer and family advocates. Scientists working on the revision of the DSM have experience in research, clinical care, biology, genetics, statistics, epidemiology, public health and consumer advocacy. They have interests ranging from cross-cultural medicine and genetics to geriatric issues, ethics and addiction. The APA Board of Trustees required that all task force nominees disclose any competing interests or potentially conflicting relationships with entities that have an interest in psychiatric diagnoses and treatments as a precondition to appointment to the task force. The APA made all task force members' disclosures available during the announcement of the task force. Several individuals were ruled ineligible for task force appointments due to their competing interests. Revision of the DSM will continue over the next five years. Future announcements will include naming the workgroups on specific categories of disorders and their research-based recommendations on updating various disorders and definitions.
Owing to criticism over the perceived proliferation of diagnoses in the current edition of the DSM, David Kupfer, who is shepherding the DSM's revision, said in an interview: "One of the raps against psychiatry is that you and I are the only two people in the U.S. without a psychiatric diagnosis."
Robert Spitzer, the head of the DSM-III task force, has publicly criticized the American Psychiatric Association for mandating that DSM-V task force members sign a nondisclosure agreement, effectively conducting the whole process in secret: “When I first heard about this agreement, I just went bonkers. Transparency is necessary if the document is to have credibility, and, in time, you’re going to have people complaining all over the place that they didn’t have the opportunity to challenge anything.”
The appointment, in May 2008, of two of the taskforce members, Kenneth Zucker and Ray Blanchard, has led to an internet petition to remove them. According to MSNBC, "The petition accuses Zucker of having engaged in 'junk science' and promoting 'hurtful theories' during his career." According to The Gay City News, "Dr. Ray Blanchard, a psychiatry professor at the University of Toronto, is deemed offensive for his theories that some types of transsexuality are paraphilias, or sexual urges. In this model, transsexuality is not an essential aspect of the individual, but a misdirected sexual impulse." Blanchard responded, "Naturally, it's very disappointing to me there seems to be so much misinformation about me on the Internet. [They didn't distort] my views, they completely reversed my views." Zucker "rejects the junk-science charge, saying there 'has to be an empirical basis to modify anything' in the DSM. As for hurting people, 'in my own career, my primary motivation in working with children, adolescents and families is to help them with the distress and suffering they are experiencing, whatever the reasons they are having these struggles. I want to help people feel better about themselves, not hurt them.'"
Following controversy and protests from gay activists at APA annual conferences from 1970 to 1973, as well as the emergence of new data from researchers such as Alfred Kinsey and Evelyn Hooker, the seventh printing of the DSM-II, in 1974, no longer listed homosexuality as a category of disorder. But through the efforts of psychiatrist Robert Spitzer, who had led the DSM-II development committee, a vote by the APA trustees in 1973, and confirmed by the wider APA membership in 1974, the diagnosis was replaced with the category of "sexual orientation disturbance". That was replaced with the diagnosis of ego-dystonic homosexuality in the DSM-III in 1980, but then was removed in 1987 with the release of the DSM-III-R.   A category of "sexual disorder not otherwise specified" continues in the DSM-IV-TR, which may include "persistent and marked distress about one’s sexual orientation."
Beginning with the problem that there is no single objective diagnostic test for a mental illness in the field of psychiatry — a problem the DSM sidesteps by referring only to "mental disorders", defined modestly as dysfunctional psychological or behavioral patterns — the DSM-IV has come under various criticisms over the years.
The most fundamental criticism of the DSM concerns the construct validity and reliability of its diagnostic categories and criteria.   Although increasingly standardized, critics argue that the DSM's claim of an empirically foundation is overstated. A reliance on operational definitions necessitates that intuitive concepts such as depression be operationally defined before they can be used in scientific investigation. Such definitions are used as a follow up to a conceptual definition, in which the specific concept is defined as a measurable occurrence. John Stuart Mill pointed out the dangers of believing anything that could be given a name must refer to a thing and Stephen Jay Gould and others have criticized psychologists for doing just that. A committed operationalist would respond that speculation about the thing in itself, or noumenon, should be resisted as meaningless, and would comment only on phenomena using operationally defined terms and tables of operationally defined measurements. This line of criticism has also appeared in non-specialist venues. In 1997, Harper's Magazine published an essay, ostensibly a book review of the DSM-IV, that criticized the lack of hard science and the proliferation of disorders. The language of the DSM was described as "simultaneously precise and vague", and the manual itself compared to "a militia's Web page, insofar as it constitutes an alternative reality under siege," and a "fertilizer bomb" against hard science.
By design, the DSM is primarily concerned with the symptoms of mental disorders, it does not attempt to analyze or explain the conditions it lists or even to discuss possible patterns or relationships between them. As such, it has been compared to a naturalist’s field guide to birds, with similar advantages and disadvantages. The lack of causative or explanatory material, however, is not specific to the DSM, but rather reflects a general lack of pathophysiological understanding of psychiactric disorders. As DSM-III chief architect Robert Spitzer and DSM-IV editor Michael First outlined in 2005, "little progress has been made toward understanding the pathophysiological processes and etiology of mental disorders. If anything, the research has shown the situation is even more complex than initially imagined, and we believe not enough is known to structure the classification of psychiatric disorders according to etiology." The DSM's apparent superficiality is therefore largely a result of nescessity, since there no agreement exists for a more explanatory classification system.
Despite the lack of consensus, advocates for specific psychopathlogical paradigms have nonetheless faulted the current diagnostic scheme for not incorporating the innovations of their particular model; the most recent example being evolutionary psychologists' criticism that the DSM does not differentiatebetween genuine cognitive malfunctions and those induced by psychological adaptations, a key distinction within evolutionary psychology, but one widely challenged within general psychology.  
Despite caveats in the introduction to the DSM, it has long been argued that its system of classification makes unjustified categorical distinctions between disorders, and between normal and abnormal. Although the DSM-V may move away from this categorical approach in some limited areas, some argue that a fully dimensional, spectrum or complaint-oriented approach would better reflect the evidence.    Similarly, the current individual symptom-based approach has been argued to not adequately take into account the context in which a person is living, and to what extent there is internal disorder of an individual or a psychological response to adverse situations.  Because the level of impairment is often not correlated with symptom counts and can stem from various individual and social factors, the standard of distress or disability can often produce false positives. 
Some psychiatrists also argue that current diagnostic standards rely on an exagerated intepretation of neurophysiological findings and so understate the scientific importance of social-psychological variables. Advocating a more culturally sensitive approach to psychology, critics such as Carl Bell and Marcello Maviglia contend that the cultural and ethnic diversity of individuals is often discounted by researchers and service providers. . In addition, current diagnostic guidelines have been criticized as having a fundamentally Euro-American outlook. Although these guidelines have been widely implemented, opponents argue that even when a diagnostic criteria set is accepted across different cultures, it does not necessarily indicate that the underlying constructs have any validity within those cultures; even reliable application can only prove consistency, not legitimacy. Cross-cultural psychiatrist Arthur Kleinman contends that the Western bias is ironically illustrated in the introduction of cultural factors to the DSM-IV: the fact that disorders or concepts from non-Western or non-mainstream cultures are described as "culture-bound", whereas standard psychiatric diagnoses are given no cultural qualification whatsoever, is to Kleinman revelatory of an underlying assumption that Western cultural phenomena are universal. Kleinman's negative view towards the culture-bound syndrome is largely shared by other cross-cultural critics, common responses included both disappointment over the large number of documented non-Western mental disorders still left out, and frustration that even those included were often misintepreted or misrepresented. Many mainstream psychiatrists have also been dissatisfied with the these new culture-bound diagnoses, although not for the same reasons. Robert Spitzer, a lead architect of the DSM-III, has opined that the addition of cultural formulations was an attempt to placate cultural critics, and that they lack any scientific motivation or support. Spitzer also posits that the new culture-bound diagnoses are rarely used in practice, maintaining that the standard diagnoses apply regardless of the culture involved. In general, the mainstream psychiatric opinion remains that if a diagnostic category is valid, cross-cultural factors are either irrelevant or are only signficant to specific symptom presentations.
It has also been suggested that the apparent reductionism of the DSM, as well as its substantial expansions, are representative of an increasing medicalization of human nature, a result of disease mongering by drug companies, whose influence on psychiatry has dramatically grown in recent decades. Of the authors who selected and defined the DSM-IV psychiatric disorders, roughly half had had a financial relationships with the pharmaceutical industry at one time, raising the prospect of a direct conflict of interest. In 2008, then American Psychiatric Association President Steven Sharfstein released a statement in which he conceded that psychiatrists had "allowed the biopsychosocial model to become the bio-bio-bio model" and routinely accepted "kickbacks and bribes" from pharmaceutical companies.
There is scientific and political controversy regarding the continued inclusion of sex-related diagnoses such as the paraphilias (sexual fetishes) and female hypoactive sexual desire disorder (low female sex drive). Critics of these and other controversial diagnoses often cite the DSM's previous inclusion of homosexuality, as well as the APA's eventual decision to remove it, as a precedent for current disputes. That 1974 decision, however, is still challenged by many conservative and religious groups, who maintain that homosexuality is in fact a mental disorder. The fact that this diagnostic revision continues to be passionately disputed, so many years after the fact, underscores that any reevaluation of controversial disorders must be viewed as a political as well as scientific decision. Indeed, even Robert Spitzer (psychiatrist), a leading proponent of continued inclusion, conceded that a significant reason that certain diagnoses are not removed from the DSM is because "it would be a public relations disaster for psychiatry"