MSD Manual

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Classification and Diagnosis of Mental Illness

By

Michael B. First

, MD, Columbia University

Last full review/revision Mar 2020| Content last modified Mar 2020
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In 1980, the American Psychiatric Association published the third edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III), marking the first attempt to approach the diagnosis of mental illness through standardized definitions and criteria. The latest edition, DSM-5, published in 2013, provides a classification system that attempts to separate mental illnesses into diagnostic categories based on descriptions of symptoms (that is, what people say and do as a reflection of how they think and feel) and on the course of the illness.

The International Classification of Disease, 10th Revision, (ICD-10), which was first published by the World Health Organization in 1992, uses diagnostic categories similar to those in the DSM-5. This similarity indicates that diagnoses of specific mental illnesses are becoming more standard and consistent throughout the world.

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Dissociative Fugue
In dissociative fugue, people lose some or all of their memories from the past, and they usually leave their environments, such as their family or job. Dissociative fugue is often mistaken for malingering (faking physical or psychologic symptoms to obtain a benefit). Which of the following is characteristic of a person with dissociative fugue but NOT of a person malingering?
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