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Much has changed since the two dominant mental health nosological systems, the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), were first published in 1900 and 1952, respectively. Despite numerous modifications to stay up to date with scientific and cultural changes (eg, exclusion of homosexuality as a disorder) and to improve the cultural sensitivity of psychiatric diagnoses, the ICD and DSM have only recently renewed attempts at harmonization. Previous nosological iterations demonstrate the oscillation in the importance placed on the biological focus, highlighting the tension between a gender- and culture-free nosology (solely biological) and a contextually relevant understanding of mental illness. In light of the release of the DSM 5, future nosological systems, such as the ICD 11, scheduled for release in 2017, and the Research Development Criteria (RDoC), can learn from history and apply critiques. This article aims to critically consider gender and culture in previous editions of the ICD and DSM to inform forthcoming classifications.


Tanya van de Water, Sharain Suliman, Soraya Seedat. Gender and cultural issues in psychiatric nosological classification systems. CNS spectrums. 2016 Aug;21(4):334-40

PMID: 27133577

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