Abnormal Sexual Psychology

Preface   |   Contributors   |   Manual of Style   |   Warning to Readers   |   Further Reading

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or the DSM, was created to give concrete terms and diagnostic codes to psychiatrists and psychologists. Prior to this, communication across countries or schools of psychological thought was haphazard at best. In order to codify things, a group of psychologists in the APA created the first version of the DSM.

The DSM breaks disorders down into classifications, decided on by psychologists, psychiatrists, and mental health professionals. Most of the DSM's classifications are somewhat arbitrary, since it strongly follows certain psychological theories and schools of thought, and is influenced by insurance companies and even public opinion.

There are four editions of the DSM. The DSM-I, published in 1952, had about 100 disorders, mostly mainline conditions. Unsatisfied with the limits, DSM-II was published in the late 60's, with about 150 disorders. Early versions of the DSM were based on the demarcation between psychosis and neurosis.

This approach was broken in 1980 , and replaced with the biomedical psychology model, and lead to the creation of DSM-III. This was followed by a revision in 1986, which is the version that was used in the creation of the notes that lead to this book.In 1994, however, the DSM-IV came out, and updated and changed many criteria from DSM-III and DSM-III-R.

The DSM-IV is a guide and a diagnostic tool, but not exactly a guide for laypersons. DSM-IV is often used, however, in psychiatric hospitals, by insurance adjustors, even in criminal cases to determine kinds of insanity. It is more precise and more authoritative than other compilations of mental illness and does not suffer from adherence to schools of psychological thought as much.

The DSM-IV looks at paraphilia as a type of mental disorder, but not on the scale of schitzophrneia or dementia. Basically, paraphiliacs are abnormal, but not insane or in need of corrective psychological therapy. There is strong consensus that paraphilia, much like homosexuality, cannot be "cured" or fixed. However, unlike homosexuality, almost all paraphilias are formed during early or late childhood, and not set at birth.