The DSM-5 creation process and outcome underlines a core tension in psychiatry between empirical evidence that mental pathologies tend to be dimensional and a historical emphasis on delineating categorical disorders to frame psychiatric thinking. The DSM has been slow to reflect dimensional evidence because doing so is often perceived as a disruptive paradigm shift. As a result, other authorities are making this shift, circumventing the DSM in the process. For example, through the Research Domain Criteria (RDoC), NIMH now encourages investigators to focus on a dimensional and neuroscientific conceptualization of mental disorder research. Fortunately, the DSM-5 contains a dimensional model of maladaptive personality traits that provides clinical descriptors that align conceptually with the neuroscience-based dimensions delineated in the RDoC and in basic science research. Through frameworks such as the DSM-5 trait model, the DSM can evolve to better incorporate evidence of the dimensionality of mental disorder.
- Mental disorder