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Validity Of Diagnosis

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Validity Of Diagnosis
Discuss the reliability and validity of Diagnosis

There are many major systems of diagnoses worldwide, including the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders (DSM), International Classification of Diseases (ICD), and the Chinese Classification of Mental Disorders (CCMD). The DSM is one of the most widely used systems of diagnosis, and has undergone several editions. It is currently in its fourth edition. Diagnosis systems function to categorize and diagnose patients with mental health disorders such as depression, anorexia, schizophrenia and the like. It provides a base for psychiatrists for a diagnosis to be given by listing the symptoms required for specific mental disorders. However, questions have been raised as to
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Validity of diagnostic systems focus more on the accuracy of diagnosis and the ability of a test to measure what it was designed to measure. The key concern for diagnostic systems is whether they correctly diagnose people who really have particular disorders and do not give diagnosis to people who do not. This is difficult because in most disorders, there are no absolute standards against which people can be assessed and the diagnosis compared to. In other words, there is no guarantee that a patient has received a correct diagnosis.

Tyrer et al (1988) studied the validity of the DSM III through a study on 201 patients with anxiety disorders. He found that there were many symptoms among anxiety disorders that overlapped with each other. For example, similar symptoms existed between phobias, OCD, depression and eating disorders. However, because no diagnosis is clear cut, these disorders are likely to have similar problems and overlapping
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Laing and Thomas Szasz take on an alternative view that also challenges the validity of diagnosis systems such as the DSM. Both uphold the argument that mental disorders are not biological realities and therefore cannot exist. Laing’s work, for example, suggests that although diagnosis is made within a medical model, the diagnosis is more of a social fact rather than a medical one. There are no reliable biological tests for diagnosing most psychological disorders, only guidance about categorizing behavior, thoughts and emotions. According to social constructivists, we can only infer from people’s behavior that something is wrong, but we know that behavior is subject to cultural and social norms. Therefore, interpretation of behavior is subjective. Szasz also suggested that it is wrong to use a mental illness metaphor to describe behavior that does not conform to our

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