Information in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders consists of a code for each mental disorder, the symptoms present to diagnose a patient with a mental disorder, and further information about the disorder for diagnosis and treatment effectiveness, as of 2015. The DSM is the standard diagnostic manual for psychologists and psychiatrists.
An example of an entry is for social anxiety that includes a definition of the disorder and conditions for diagnosis, such as acknowledgement of irrationality of fear and perseverance of condition for at least six months. The description for each mental disorder also includes variations of the disorder to allow for proper diagnosis, the progress of the disorder, influences that exaggerate or aid each mental health issue, physical ramifications, and ethnic and gender differences in symptoms.
The guide contains secondary information on the methodology in mental health research and advances in research methodology. The manual also features a glossary to help readers understand industry-specific language.
Updates to the DSM occur periodically to reflect research advancements in the field. Information on major changes to specific disorders are in each updated version. Contents also include information about the process for updating disorders and the contributors. The American Psychiatric Association produces the manual.