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Alternatives to DSM-5 - Uni work help

coc0maccoc0mac Posts: 1,054 Wise Owl

I'm a little stuck on some uni work right now and cannot seem to find an answer, but I thought somebody here may know :) We are making a podcast about the effects of trauma in children and adolescence, and we have to discuss the assessment and diagnosis of children. They said it's really important to make reference to various ways of approaching mental health and assessment. This is to emphasise that the medical approach of the DSM-5 is not the only way, and we must evaluate which approach to assessment will be most applicable for the (fiction) case study we are basing our podcast on. 

I am struggling to find what the alternative approaches are, for example non-diagnostic approaches, non-medical approaches, I really am not sure what I am looking for. I'm just wondering if anybody is aware of the alternatives please? Sorry if this question sounds super naive of me, it's just that the DSM-5 is so prevalent in all of our research we don't often talk about alternatives :)

Thank you so much!


  • coc0maccoc0mac Posts: 1,054 Wise Owl
    I'll look into that thank you!

    Also I figured out what I needed, so all good now :) 
  • tkdogtkdog Posts: 281 The Mix Regular
    edited April 2020
    Well I am not into the DSM approach in my personal opinion as it tries to mimic diagnosis in the medical sector which is based on physical observable symptoms whereas it isn't in mental health. I wrote a critique against diagnostic approaches for my health geography project. That these things are much more complicated and can be affected by location. Foucalt talked a lot about mental illness and while some of his theories are maybe quite crazy seeming he has theories widely used in sociology, geography, archaeology.

    Saying that it is hard to say alternatives that are accepted well. In fact it really depends exactly what sort of issue.
    If you looking at alternatives perhaps a sort of humanistic therapy. Environmental and art therapy etc. I don't think diagnosis is at least always necessary for someone to get help though some find it useful to name something at least in certain contexts so I am not trying to say against it.
    Also look at preventative approaches such as in cuba they take such approach and though it is more to do with physical issues perhaps this could link to research. I think there is also something I read about psychologists and psychiatrists having a sort of difference in approach. 
    There is also this guy daniel mackler not main stream writer but interesting how he critiques stuff on childhood trauma. I know u might have what u need now but I thought id contribute just in case ha
  • coc0maccoc0mac Posts: 1,054 Wise Owl
    edited April 2020
    This is super helpful and interesting, thank you @tkdog
  • AzzimanAzziman Moderator, Community Champion Posts: 1,707 Extreme Poster
    edited April 2020
    I think the main issue with DSM-5 (from memory) is that the rules for what counts as 'depression' is fairly arbitrary - from memory I think it means that you have X number of symptoms for X amount of time. It's tricky to define symptoms or time - for instance, if you have less symptoms for much longer, does that count? Or, if you have lots of symptoms but for less time, does that count? It's subjective, so any place marker is problematic in reality. 

    Also, I think there are alternative handbooks to DSM-5, don't remember the name though - could be worth having a look at? If there are differences, how can we know who is right, and why do they differ? 

    It also varies between countries. For example, Scotland prefers CBT for depression, while England tends to favour medication (as it's cheaper to administer to the larger population). Success rate isn't the only factor - maybe worth having a look at those too :)

    Hope that helps!x
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  • MaisyMaisy Moderator Posts: 531 Incredible Poster
    edited April 2020
    I agree that an alternative to the DSM-5 could be the WHO, ICD-10 or 11. Or the ACEs scale but the issue with that is that it tries to put trauma into tick boxes and doesn't take the individuals circumstances into consideration. Non-diagnostic approaches though, I'm wondering if it's more focused on trauma informed care? This is just a general approach to supporting those who may have been through trauma but doesn't necessarily rely on a diagnosis. 

    Edit: Just realised you figured out what you needed. Hope your uni work is going well! It sounds interesting :)
    FAQ | How to report a post | How to report spam
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  • coc0maccoc0mac Posts: 1,054 Wise Owl
    Thank you so much both of you, really means a lot! 
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