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Common Psychiatric Disorders Pocket Guide

Common Psychiatric Disorders Pocket Guide

Chapter 1:

Epidemiology and prevalence of psychiatric disorders

Introduction

A psychiatric disorder is defined as “a syndrome characterized by aclinically significant disturbance in an individual’s cognition, emotionalregulation, or behavior that reflects a dysfunction in the psychological,biological, or developmental processes underlying mental functioning”(American Psychiatric Association, 2013). The recognition ofpsychiatric disorders dates back to Hippocrates (460-377 BC), whowas the first to identify Melancholia as a mental disorder. Asunderstanding of mental processes advanced and pharmacologicaltreatments became available, the need for a classification system grew.A common language between psychiatrists was lacking, resulting in aninability to diagnose and properly treat psychiatric illnesses (Stengel,1959).  It was not until 1952 that a diagnostic manual was developedexclusively for psychiatric disorders for use by clinical psychiatrists. Tothis day, theDiagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM)is used for diagnostic criteria of psychiatric disorders and is updatedperiodically as knowledge in the field advances.


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