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DSM-5® Handbook of Differential Diagnosis

Michael B. First, M.D.

  • ISBN 978-1-58562-462-1
  • Item #62462
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The DSM-5 Handbook of Differential Diagnosis is the preeminent guide to differential diagnosis for both clinicians and students learning psychiatric diagnosis. Based closely on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, it offers a rich selection of perspectives in an easy-to-use format. The author, an expert on psychiatric diagnosis and assessment, recognizes that psychological distress cannot be reduced to a rubric. The clinician must have empathy, listening skills, the ability to identify symptoms and contextualize them, and a familiarity with the body of knowledge represented by DSM-5. The handbook brings these critical skills together in a well-written, accessible, and reader-friendly volume that is grounded in the latest research and standard of practice.

The handbook offers an assortment of approaches to differential diagnosis, and a number of features designed to benefit clinicians in the exam room, including:

  • A six-step framework for diagnosing patients that proceeds from determining if the symptom is real to establishing the boundary between disorder and normality, with intermediary steps to rule out substance etiology and medical conditions, as well as to determine the primary disorder and to differentiate adjustment disorders from other mental disorders.
  • Twenty-nine symptom-oriented decision trees that provide detailed decision points to facilitate the process of generating the differential diagnosis based on the presenting symptoms and eliminate formulating premature conclusions.
  • Sixty-six differential diagnosis tables, one for each of the most important DSM-5 disorders, cross-referenced with the terminal branches of the decision trees presented in the handbook to provide a head-to-head comparison of each disorder, highlighting similarities and differences.
  • The DSM-5 classification, to facilitate coding and to provide an overview of all of the DSM-5 diagnoses that must be considered in formulating a differential diagnosis.
  • Alphabetical indexes of the decision trees and differential diagnosis tables to help readers readily locate desired material.

DSM-5 Handbook of Differential Diagnosis provides a comprehensive overview of the process of diagnosing DSM-5 disorders while serving as a reference guide to assist in the differential diagnosis of individual patients. The handbook is an invaluable addition to the DSM-5 collection and an important contribution to the mental health profession.


  • Preface
  • Chapter 1. Differential Diagnosis Step by Step
  • Chapter 2. Differential Diagnosis by the Trees
  • Chapter 3. Differential Diagnosis by the Tables
  • Appendix: DSM-5 Classification
  • Alphabetical Index of Decision Trees
  • Alphabetical Index of Differential Diagnosis Tables

About the Authors

Michael B. First, M.D., is Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Columbia University and a Research Psychiatrist in the Division of Clinical Phenomenology at the New York State Psychiatric Institute in New York, New York.

The novice and intermediate-level clinician will likely find this an essential manual, whereas the seasoned practitioner may find it more worthwhile as a reference book for the occasional diagnostic puzzle or clinical blind spot.—Michael D. Jibson and Lisa S. Seyfried, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA, Academic Psychiatry, 08/25/2016

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