In order to understand psychological
disorders, we need to begin by classifying
them. A classification of such disorders
consists of a list of categories of specific
psychological disorders grouped into
various classes on the basis of some
shared characteristics. Classifications are
useful because they enable users like
psychologists, psychiatrists and social
workers to communicate with each other
about the disorder and help in
understanding the causes of psychological
disorders and the processes involved in
their development and maintenance.
The American Psychiatric Association
(APA) has published an official manual
describing and classifying various kinds of
psychological disorders. The current
version of it, the Diagnostic and
Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,
IV Edition (DSM-IV), evaluates the patient
on five axes or dimensions rather than just
one broad aspect of ‘mental disorder’.
These dimensions relate to biological,
psychological, social and other aspects.
The classification scheme officially used
in India and elsewhere is the tenth revision
of the International Classification of
Diseases (ICD-10), which is known as the
ICD-10 Classification of Behavioural and
Mental Disorders. It was prepared by the
World Health Organisation (WHO).

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