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What is a DSM-5 diagnostic code?

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Quick Answer

DSM-5 diagnostic codes correspond with mental disorders listed in the fifth edition of the "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders," also known as DSM-5. Health professionals use these codes to report diagnoses and procedures in official psychological health records, says the CDC.

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The DSM is a publication of the American Psychiatric Association and is broadly used for training and diagnostics, says the APA Practice Organization. The World Health Organization publishes its own system of classifying illness, called the "International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems," or the ICD. There often exists some confusion as to which book doctors' offices must use to code their billing properly.

As of 2015 the ICD code sets currently in use alongside the DSM-5 are the ninth and 10th editions, known as ICD-9 and ICD-10, respectively. ICD-10 completely replaces ICD-9 on October 1, 2015.

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