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Learning DSM-5® by Case Example

Michael B. First, M.D., Andrew E. Skodol, M.D., Janet B. W. Williams, Ph.D., and Robert L. Spitzer, M.D.

  • ISBN 978-1-61537-016-0
  • Item #37016

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With at least one case presentation for each of the mental disorders catalogued in DSM-5—and multiple cases for nearly half of the disorders—Learning DSM-5 by Case Example has been meticulously designed to aid practitioners and students of all levels in psychology, psychiatry, social work, counseling, and psychiatric nursing develop internalized prototypes of DSM-5 disorders by first describing each disorder in relatable terms and subsequently illustrating how these symptom constellations manifest in real-life settings using clinical case material.

The nearly 200 cases featured in this guide are drawn from the clinical experience of well over 100 clinicians, many of whom are well-known experts in particular areas of diagnosis and treatment. Sensitive to the fact that one of the hallmarks of mental disorders is the wide range of presentations that are encountered in a real-world setting, many of the disorders described include multiple cases that vary in symptom presentation, gender, age, clinical course, associated impairment in psychosocial functioning, and developmental factors, thus giving readers an appreciation for the heterogeneity typical of these disorders. Each case is complemented by a discussion that elaborates the ways in which the case conforms to the DSM-5 prototype or highlights those features of the case that illustrate the heterogeneity.

With definitions of potentially unfamiliar medical and psychiatric terms, Learning DSM-5 by Case Example is an accessible resource for readers of all disciplines. And because it guides the reader through the organizational structure of DSM-5, it is also an ideal reference for courses on psychopathology or abnormal psychology.


  • About the Authors
  • Introduction
  • Acknowledgments
  • Chapter 1. Neurodevelopmental Disorders
  • Chapter 2. Schizophrenia Spectrum and Other Psychotic Disorders
  • Chapter 3. Bipolar and Related Disorders
  • Chapter 4. Depressive Disorders
  • Chapter 5. Anxiety Disorders
  • Chapter 6. Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders
  • Chapter 7. Trauma- and Stressor-Related Disorders
  • Chapter 8. Dissociative Disorders
  • Chapter 9. Somatic Symptom and Related Disorders
  • Chapter 10. Feeding and Eating Disorders
  • Chapter 11. Elimination Disorders
  • Chapter 12. Sleep-Wake Disorders
  • Chapter 13. Sexual Dysfunctions
  • Chapter 14. Gender Dysphoria
  • Chapter 15. Disruptive, Impulse-Control, and Conduct Disorders
  • Chapter 16. Substance-Related and Addictive Disorders
  • Chapter 17. Neurocognitive Disorders
  • Chapter 18. Personality Disorders
  • Chapter 19. Paraphilic Disorders
  • Alphabetical Index of Case Names
  • Alphabetical Index of Diagnoses and Related Cases
  • Index

About the Authors

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

Andrew E. Skodol, M.D., is Research Professor of Psychiatry at University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson, Arizona, and Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York, New York.

Janet B. W. Williams, Ph.D., is Professor Emerita of Clinical Psychiatric Social Work (in Psychiatry and Neurology) at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and Research Scientist and Deputy Chief of the Biometrics Research Department (Retired) at New York State Psychiatric Institute in New York, New York; she is also Senior Vice President of Global Science at MedAvante, Inc., in Hamilton, New Jersey.

Robert L. Spitzer, M.D., was Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and Research Scientist and Chief of the Biometrics Research Department (Retired) at New York State Psychiatric Institute in New York, New York. Dr. Spitzer passed away on December 25, 2015.

Nothing brings a construct better to life than a vivid example, and this text explodes with wonderfully instructive illustrations of DSM-5 disorders. This text will provide outstanding supplemental reading for courses across the mental health professions.—Thomas A. Widiger, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of Kentucky

For the newcomer to mental disorder classification, and even for seasoned clinicians, DSM-5 can seem daunting in its complexity and depth. Fortunately, Drs. First, Skodol, Williams, and Spitzer have provided a marvelously rich compendium of case material that helps the detailed criteria on the pages of DSM-5 come alive.—Robert F. Krueger Ph.D., Hathaway Distinguished Professor, Distinguished McKnight University Professor, and Director of Clinical Training, Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota

In this superb casebook, diagnostic categories jump off the page in the context of brief but vivid descriptions of real patients. Continuing and improving on the strong tradition of previous editions of this casebook, various case studies are provided illustrating the different ways in which patients might meet criteria for one DSM-5 disorder or another, and unlike previous editions, the case examples align very closely with each chapter in DSM-5. Everyone teaching or learning about psychopathology would benefit from this excellent resource.—David H. Barlow Ph.D., ABPP, Emeritus Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry, Boston University, Founder and Director Emeritus, Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders

I cannot imagine how new students could get an understanding of our diagnostic system without this book. Truly a must read for teachers, students, and practitioners of medicine, nursing, psychology, social work, occupational and physical therapy, and others who interact with persons suffering from mental disorders.—A. John Rush, Professor Emeritus, Duke-National University of Singapore Graduate Medical School

The cases are written in a style suitable for a wide range of students, from undergraduate social work and psychology students to graduate MSW and PhD students and medical students to clinicians – indeed, I learned a lot and enjoyed reading it as well. In my view, Learning DSM-5 by Case Example is an essential second text to accompany the DSM-5 in courses on psychopathology.—Jerome C. Wakefield, PhD, DSW, MSW, LCSW, University Professor, Professor of Social Work, and Professor of Psychiatry, New York University

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