What Is the Easiest Way to Learn DSM-5 Codes?

An individual's learning style, education and professional experience affects how easily he learns Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition codes. A clinician accustomed to using DSM-IV-TR codes can refer to a summary of the code changes on the DSM-5 website at DSM5.org.

The American Psychiatric Association and PsychCentral have both published lists comparing the DSM-IV-TR codes with DSM-5 codes. Clinicians can compare the two lists to familiarize themselves with current codes, terminology and criteria. Section II of the manual organizes the chapters by disorder to show how they relate to one another. Students may find it easier to learn the codes by studying them in groups of related disorders. If a student's goal is only to memorize the disorders and their corresponding DSM-5 codes, flashcards or other rote memorization techniques are often the most efficient method.

The American Psychiatric Association publishes the DSM as a resource and diagnostic guideline for clinicians practicing in the United States. The fifth edition was published in May 2013 after almost 10 years of drafts, input from psychiatric professionals and revisions. Some of the major changes include reduced thresholds for the diagnosis of certain conditions, the combination of four different disorders under Autism Spectrum Disorders, details of the major symptom clusters associated with PSTD and a revised code list for all recognized neurological diagnoses.