How does one identify psychiatric disability and assess it for treatment?I am a teacher in psychiatric social work; I am asking this question for a lecture hour.

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jennifer-taubenheim eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The American Psychiatric Association publishes a book called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. They are currently on the 4th edition which was published in 1994, although there was a text revision in 2000. A new edition is planned to be out in 2012. This book provides diagnostic criteria for all mental disorders for both children and adults. It also lists the known causes of these disorders, includes statistics on gender, onset age, and prognosis, in addition to research concerning optimal treatment approaches.  It is used by clinicians, researchers, and others. Mental health professionals use it to help patients and insurance companies understand the illnesses and potential treatment. This book is basically a bible for anyone working in psychiatric diagnosis in the US, as well as many other countries. Anyone who is not a trained professional should not attempt to diagnose. This is dangerous and unethical.