“As an undergraduate student in psychology, I was taught that multiple personalities were a very rare and bizarre disorder. That is all that I was taught on ... It soon became apparent that what I had been taught was simply not true. Not only was I meeting people with multiplicity; these individuals entering my life were normal human beings with much to offer. They were simply people who had endured more than their share of pain in this life and were struggling to make sense of it.”
― Deborah Bray Haddock, The Dissociative Identity Disorder Sourcebook
According to the American Psychiatric Association, the organization behind the creation of the DSM, "the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.; DSM–5) is the most widely accepted nomenclature used by clinicians and researchers for the classification of mental disorders" (2013).
The DSM is a guidebook of diagnostic labels and criteria that contains information regarding diagnostic features, associated features, prevalence, development and course, risk and prognostic features, culture-related diagnostic issues, gender-related diagnostic issues, suicide risk, functional consequences, differential diagnoses, and comorbidity. The 5th edition (DSM-5) was released in 2013; before this, the revised 4th edition (DSM-IV-TR) was in use. Though the DSM is created by American psychiatrists and with the US in mind, it is used as a reference by many Western countries.
However, diagnostic coding in the US and other countries does not rely on the DSM but on the International Classification of Diseases (ICD). The ICD is the World Health Organization’s guidebook of diagnostic labels, and it focuses on morbidity, prevalence, and reducing the burden of disease. The 10th edition (ICD-10) has been in use since 1994, though the US National Center for Health Statistics created the revised ICD-10-CM for diagnostic codes and ICD-10-PCS for procedure codes. The ICD-11 is currently being revised and is scheduled to be released in 2017.
Despite this, the US has delayed the adaptation of the ICD-10 several times, and many American psychiatrists don't purchase a separate ICD. Many mental health codes are the same between the ICD and DSM, and the DSM provides a list of the ICD codes that are not the same. The DSM is more widely used for mental health diagnoses in Western countries due to being more current and detailed.
The ICD-10 still identifies dissociative identity disorder as multiple personality disorder, though it does recognize DID as a dissociative/conversion disorder.
Accorditional information regarding the differences between the DSM and ICD can be found at the following:
The ICD-10 is available for free online at: