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On Saturday, the American Psychiatric Association finalized a 13-year process of revising the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, commonly known as the DSM, the most important book in the field of mental illness. The DSM attempts to designate and code all the ways our minds can go awry. It defines depression, anxiety, schizophrenia—as well as more than 300 other problems from obsessive-compulsive disorder to stuttering to fetishism. Insurance companies require DSM codes for reimbursement, and the National Institutes of Health require them for research grants. It’s no exaggeration to say that the new DSM—the fifth full edition, one that more than 1,500 mental-health experts help write—will change the world of mental health.
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