Speculations on the future of psychiatric diagnosis

A. John Rush, Hisham M. Ibrahim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-V), criterion symptom listings are frequently used in clinical practice as checklists to make diagnoses. However, most DSM-V conditions are, in fact, syndromes, that is, collections of signs and symptoms that commonly occur together in the clinic. This report discusses the value of syndromes in medicine and psychiatry. It is argued that a more precise future enumeration of brain circuits and the pathogenesis of psychiatric conditions will help us better understand and treat psychiatric syndromes, but they are unlikely to eliminate the need to categorize psychiatric conditions. We expect that biomarkers will play an increasingly critical role in psychiatric diagnosis. Beyond a better mechanistic understanding of the DSM-V syndromes, future diagnostic efforts will need to increase the focus on function and address risk factors for nonresponse and relapse. We suggest that new artificial intelligence advances will increase the efficiency and acceptability of psychiatric diagnosis and assist with treatment delivery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)481-487
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Nervous and Mental Disease
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2018


  • Biomarkers
  • Psychiatric diagnosis
  • Psychiatric syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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