When is the DSM-6 Likely to be Released?

When can we expect the release of DSM-6? Explore the anticipated timeline and potential revisions in this comprehensive guide.

Understanding DSM Editions

To comprehend the release timeline for the DSM-6, it is essential to have an understanding of the evolution of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) and the criteria used in each edition.

Evolution of DSM Criteria

The DSM has undergone significant changes over the years, reflecting advancements in the field of psychiatry and the evolving understanding of mental disorders. Each edition builds upon previous versions, incorporating new research findings and clinical insights.

The paradigm shift in psychiatric diagnosis began with the publication of the DSM-III in 1980. This edition emphasized empirically-based, atheoretical, and agnostic diagnostic criteria, moving away from psychoanalytic and theoretical approaches. The DSM-III introduced a formal operationalization of psychiatric diagnosis with established reliability and validity [1].

The DSM-III was a pioneering work that significantly contributed to the re-medicalization of psychiatry. By grounding the field in empirical research, it transformed psychiatric diagnosis into a more standardized and reliable system [1].


Following the DSM-III, the DSM-III-R (Revised) was published in 1987. This edition refined the diagnostic criteria based on feedback from clinicians and researchers to enhance clinical utility [1].

The DSM-IV, released in 1994, introduced relatively few significant changes compared to its predecessor. It aimed to improve the clinical utility of the manual while maintaining the same diagnostic categories and criteria.

In 2013, the DSM-5 was published, representing the most recent edition of the manual. It incorporated extensive research and clinical input to revise and update diagnostic criteria for various mental disorders. The DSM-5 introduced new disorders, modified existing criteria, and aimed to enhance the overall validity and reliability of psychiatric diagnosis.

Understanding the historical progression of the DSM editions provides a foundation for exploring the release timeline and potential changes in the forthcoming DSM-6.

Release Timeline for DSM-6

The release of new editions of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) follows a general pattern, with updates occurring every 10 to 15 years. The most recent edition, DSM-5, was published in 2013. Based on historical release patterns, it is anticipated that the DSM-6 is likely to be released sometime between 2023 and 2028. However, there may also be a mid-cycle update released around 2021, although these updates typically do not involve complete revisions of all sections.

It's important to note that the release timeline for the DSM-6 is subject to change and can vary depending on the development process and other factors. The DSM is a comprehensive manual that undergoes extensive review and revision to ensure its accuracy and relevance in the field of mental health.

As for the potential revisions and changes in the DSM-6, there may be a focus on specific disorders, including Autism Spectrum Disorders, Alzheimer's Disease, therapy for PTSD, Traumatic Brain Damage, and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. However, the exact details of these revisions are yet to be confirmed.

The development process for the DSM-6 involves expert involvement from various fields of mental health. These experts contribute their knowledge and expertise to ensure that the manual reflects the most current understanding of mental disorders. The review and approval process involves rigorous scrutiny and feedback from professionals in the field to ensure the quality and accuracy of the diagnostic criteria.

In terms of compatibility and coding, the DSM-6 is expected to align with the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-10-CM). This alignment helps to ensure consistency in coding and diagnostic practices across different healthcare systems and facilitates effective communication between healthcare providers.

As the release of the DSM-6 approaches, it is important for clinicians and researchers to stay updated on the latest developments to adapt their clinical practice and contribute to the field's advancement. The future directions of the DSM and its impact on clinical practice will continue to shape the field of mental health and contribute to improved diagnosis and treatment.

Updates and Revisions in DSM-6

As with previous editions, the DSM-6 is expected to bring updates and revisions to the diagnostic criteria and classification of mental disorders. While the exact details of these changes are not yet known, we can anticipate potential alterations and additions to the DSM-6 based on past patterns and emerging trends.

Potential Changes and Additions

The DSM-6 may incorporate new scientific findings, advancements in research, and changes in the understanding of mental disorders. It is likely to reflect the evolving knowledge and diagnostic criteria for various conditions. Some of the potential changes and additions that could be included in the DSM-6 are:

  1. Autism Spectrum Disorders: Given the growing understanding of autism and its diverse presentation, the DSM-6 may provide further refinement and updates to the diagnostic criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorders. This could potentially improve the accuracy of diagnosis and enhance the understanding of the condition.
  2. Alzheimer's Disease: With ongoing research on Alzheimer's disease, the DSM-6 may introduce revisions to the diagnostic criteria for this neurodegenerative disorder. These updates could aim to enhance early detection and diagnosis, facilitating timely intervention and support.
  3. Therapy for PTSD: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an area where treatment approaches continue to evolve. The DSM-6 might incorporate advancements in therapeutic modalities and evidence-based interventions, ensuring that the diagnostic criteria align with current best practices.
  4. Traumatic Brain Damage: As our understanding of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) expands, the DSM-6 may address the diagnostic criteria for TBI-related disorders. This could include updated guidelines for assessing the cognitive, emotional, and behavioral consequences of such injuries.
  5. Chronic Traumatic Encephalography: The DSM-6 might also include further information and diagnostic criteria related to Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain condition associated with repetitive head injuries. This could aid in the recognition and diagnosis of CTE in affected individuals.

It's important to note that these potential changes and additions are speculative based on emerging trends and expert opinions. The final content of the DSM-6 will be determined through a rigorous development process involving experts in the field.

Focus on Specific Disorders

The DSM-6 may place a particular emphasis on specific disorders based on the current research landscape and clinical needs. While the exact focus areas are not yet defined, the DSM-6 could address topics such as:

  • Increasing understanding of the genetic, imaging, and neurochemical aspects of mental disorders, leading to potential revisions in diagnostic criteria [2].
  • Comprehensive review of the impact of racism and discrimination on mental health diagnoses, ensuring that the DSM-6 addresses the social and cultural context of mental disorders.

The DSM-6 will likely aim to provide an updated and refined framework for mental disorder classification, incorporating the latest research findings and clinical expertise. By addressing emerging areas of knowledge and improving diagnostic accuracy, the DSM-6 will continue to support clinicians, researchers, and individuals seeking mental health care.

Development Process for DSM-6

The development of each edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) involves a rigorous and collaborative process. This section will explore the expert involvement and review and approval process that underpins the development of DSM-6.

Expert Involvement

The development of DSM-6 involves the participation of numerous subject matter experts from around the world. These experts typically include researchers, clinicians, and other professionals with extensive knowledge and expertise in the field of mental health. Their diverse perspectives and experience contribute to the comprehensive and evidence-based nature of the DSM.

In the case of DSM-5-TR (Text Revision), which was published as a text revision of DSM-5 in 2013, more than 200 subject matter experts were involved in the development process. They conducted extensive literature reviews covering the past nine years and recommended necessary clarifications to certain diagnostic criteria [4]. The involvement of these experts ensures that the DSM remains up-to-date and reflective of current scientific knowledge.

Review and Approval Process

Once the development of DSM-6 is complete, the draft undergoes a thorough review and approval process. This process involves multiple stages of scrutiny to ensure the accuracy and validity of the diagnostic criteria.

The review process typically includes the DSM editors, the DSM Steering Committee, the APA Assembly, and the Board of Trustees of the American Psychiatric Association (APA). These entities carefully evaluate the proposed changes and revisions to the diagnostic criteria.

The goal of the review and approval process is to ensure that the diagnostic criteria in DSM-6 are well-supported by scientific evidence and consensus within the field of mental health. This rigorous evaluation helps maintain the quality and credibility of the DSM as a diagnostic tool.

It's important to note that while the DSM provides diagnostic criteria for mental disorders, it does not include information or guidelines for treatment. Its primary purpose is to assist clinicians in assessing and diagnosing mental disorders.

As of now, the specific timeline for the release of DSM-6 has not been announced. The development process for each edition takes several years to ensure a comprehensive and rigorous approach. Mental health professionals and researchers eagerly anticipate the release of DSM-6 to further enhance our understanding and diagnosis of mental disorders.

Compatibility and Coding

When it comes to the release of the DSM-6, it's important to consider the compatibility of the new edition with existing coding systems, as well as any potential coding updates that may be introduced.

Alignment with ICD-10-CM

The DSM-6 is expected to align with the ICD-10-CM coding system. The ICD-10-CM is a HIPAA-approved coding system used for documenting and reporting diagnoses in the United States. It replaced the previous ICD-9 codes on October 1, 2015.

The alignment between the DSM-6 and ICD-10-CM ensures that the revised criteria for mental disorders can be seamlessly integrated into the coding system. This compatibility allows clinicians to use the updated diagnostic criteria for diagnosing mental disorders and submitting claims for reimbursement.

Coding Updates for DSM-6

While specific details about coding updates for the DSM-6 are not available at this time, it is common for new editions to introduce changes and updates to the coding system. These updates may include the addition of new codes, revisions to existing codes, or changes in the coding guidelines.

The DSM-5-TR, which was published as a text revision of DSM-5, introduced new codes for disorders such as prolonged grief disorder and suicidal behavior [5]. It is anticipated that the DSM-6 will also bring about similar coding updates to reflect the evolving understanding of mental disorders.

As the development process for the DSM-6 progresses, subject matter experts including researchers and clinicians worldwide will be involved in shaping the coding updates. These updates will undergo thorough review and approval by the DSM-6 editors, the DSM Steering Committee, APA Assembly, and Board of Trustees [5].

The compatibility and coding aspects of the DSM-6 play a crucial role in ensuring effective communication and documentation within the field of mental health. By aligning with the ICD-10-CM coding system and incorporating appropriate coding updates, the DSM-6 will provide clinicians with a standardized framework for accurately diagnosing and treating mental disorders.

Impact of DSM Revisions

As the field of psychiatry continues to evolve, each new edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) brings about important changes and implications for clinical practice. In the case of the upcoming DSM-6, it is essential to consider the potential impact and future directions for mental health professionals.

Clinical Practice Implications

The revisions and updates in the DSM-6 will have significant implications for clinicians in their assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of mental disorders. The DSM serves as a valuable resource for clinicians, providing standardized criteria for the classification and diagnosis of mental health conditions.

With each new edition, the DSM aims to refine diagnostic criteria, incorporate new research findings, and address any gaps or limitations identified in previous versions. As a result, clinicians can expect to see changes in the diagnostic criteria and classifications of various disorders. It is crucial for mental health professionals to stay informed about these revisions to ensure accurate and effective diagnosis and treatment for their patients.

The DSM-5-TR (Text Revision), which was published in March 2022, included updates to criteria sets for over 70 disorders, incorporating current scientific literature and new diagnoses. However, it is important to note that the DSM does not provide treatment guidelines for specific disorders; its primary focus is on assessment and diagnosis American Psychiatric Association.

Future Directions

Looking ahead, the DSM-6 is anticipated to continue the tradition of advancing the field of psychiatry by incorporating the latest research and clinical insights. The development process for the DSM-6 involves the collaboration of numerous experts and professionals in the field, ensuring a comprehensive and rigorous approach to updating the manual.

As mental health research continues to evolve, the DSM-6 will likely reflect new understandings of mental disorders, including changes in diagnostic criteria and the inclusion of emerging disorders. It is important for mental health professionals to remain engaged with the ongoing development of the DSM-6 to stay abreast of these updates and incorporate them into their clinical practice.

Furthermore, the future directions of the DSM-6 might also involve considering the impact of social and cultural factors on mental health diagnoses. With a growing understanding of the influence of racism, discrimination, and other social determinants of health, the DSM-6 may incorporate a more comprehensive review of these factors and their impact on mental health diagnoses American Psychiatric Association.

In conclusion, the impact of DSM revisions, including the upcoming DSM-6, will shape the landscape of clinical practice in diagnosing and treating mental disorders. Mental health professionals should stay informed about the changes and future directions of the DSM to ensure the best possible care for their patients.


[1]: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4810039/

[2]: https://www.quora.com/When-is-the-DSM-6-likely-to-be-released-What-important-revisions-will-it-contain

[3]: https://www.psychiatry.org/psychiatrists/practice/dsm

[4]: https://www.psychiatry.org/psychiatrists/practice/dsm/about-dsm/history-of-the-dsm

[5]: https://www.psychiatry.org/psychiatrists/practice/dsm/frequently-asked-questions