Advances in psychiatric diagnosis: Past, present, and future

Carol S. North, Alina M. Surís

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


This editorial examines controversies identified by the articles in this special issue, which explore psychopathology in the broad history of the classification of selected psychiatric disorders and syndromes over time through current American criteria. Psychiatric diagnosis has a long history of scientific investigation and application, with periods of rapid change, instability, and heated controversy associated with it. The articles in this issue examine the history of psychiatric nomenclature and explore current and future directions in psychiatric diagnosis through the various versions of accepted diagnostic criteria and accompanying research literature addressing the criteria. The articles seek to guide readers in appreciating the complexities of psychiatric diagnosis as the field of psychiatry pushes forward toward future advancements in diagnosis. Despite efforts of many scientists to advance a diagnostic classification system that incorporates neuroscience and genetics, it has been argued that it may be premature to attempt to move to a biologically-based classification system, because psychiatric disorders cannot yet be fully distinguished by any specific biological markers. For now, the symptom-based criteria that the field has been using continue to serve many essential purposes, including selection of the most effective treatment, communication about disease with colleagues, education about psychiatric illness, and support for ongoing research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number27
JournalBehavioral Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2017


  • Biomarkers
  • Controversy
  • DSM-5
  • Disease classification
  • Genetics
  • Medical illness
  • Neuroscience
  • Nosology
  • Psychiatric diagnosis
  • Research Domain Criteria

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Development
  • Genetics
  • Psychology(all)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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