The DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) is a classification system that establishes international agreements on the criteria for specific mental disorders based on (new) scientific insights.
Until DSM-4, a choice had to be made regarding which issues were most prominent. Since the introduction of DSM-5 in 2013, individuals can receive multiple diagnoses. This allows for more targeted support, focusing on the individual’s specific needs rather than a singular issue.
The diagnosis must always be determined by a qualified professional. Huntu does not provide diagnoses, but we can refer you to someone who does.
On this page, you will find brief descriptions of common diagnoses.
Autism spectrum disorder often co-occurs with one of the following diagnoses. They will be described below, based on the DSM-5.
- Neurodevelopmental Disorders
- Depressive Mood Disorders
- Anxiety Disorders
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders
- Eating Disorders
- Disruptive, Impulse Control, and Conduct Disorders
- Substance-Related and Addictive Disorders
Neurodevelopmental disorders involve problems in brain development and the occurrence of abnormalities. They often arise early in childhood or are congenital and can lead to limitations in social or personal functioning. The delays regularly begin early in childhood, but can persist well into adulthood.
Autism Spectrum Disorder
What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?
Autism Spectrum Disorder falls under the category of neurodevelopmental disorders that are present since early childhood.
- The core problems of autism are persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction across various situations (domain A). These include the following three characteristics:
- Deficits in social-emotional reciprocity.
- Deficits in non-verbal communicative behaviours for social interaction.
- Deficits in developing, maintaining, and understanding relationships.
- In addition to persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction, there must be restricted, repetitive patterns of behaviour, interests, or activities (domain B). These include the following four characteristics:
- Stereotyped or repetitive motor movements, use of objects, or speech.
- Insistence on sameness, inflexible adherence to routines, or ritualized patterns of behaviour.
- Highly restricted, fixated interests that are abnormal in intensity or focus.
- Hyper- or hypo reactivity to sensory input or unusual interest in sensory aspects of the environment.
- The symptoms must be present in early childhood (domain C).
- The symptoms must cause significant impairments in daily functioning (domain D).
The diagnosis is made when an individual meets all the criteria listed in domains A, C, and D, and at least 2 of the 4 criteria in domain B.
Autism is a congenital disorder and is often a hereditary condition. It is also possible for autism to develop due to genetic predisposition, depending on environmental factors. Autism is an inherent disorder and cannot be cured. However, it is possible to learn to manage autism through guidance, treatment, training, and/or information.
What is Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder?
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) falls under the category of neurodevelopmental disorders, and its symptoms must have been present before the age of twelve.
- The core problems of ADHD are a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development (domain A).
- Inattention (domain A1) includes the following characteristics:
- Difficulty paying attention to details or making careless mistakes.
- Difficulty sustaining attention.
- Often does not seem to listen when spoken too directly.
- Often fails to follow through on instructions or complete tasks.
- Difficulty organizing tasks.
- Often avoids or dislikes tasks that require sustained mental effort.
- Often loses things necessary for tasks.
- Easily distracted by external stimuli.
- Often forgetful in daily activities.
- Hyperactivity and impulsivity (domain A2) include the following characteristics:
- Restlessness or fidgeting.
- Difficulty remaining seated.
- Often runs or climbs excessively.
- Difficulty engaging in leisure activities quietly.
- Often “on the go” or acts as if “driven by a motor.”
- Talks excessively.
- Blurts out answers before the question has been completed.
- Difficulty waiting for their turn.
- Interrupts or intrudes on others’ activities.
- Inattention (domain A1) includes the following characteristics:
- In addition, the symptoms causing impairment must have been present before the age of twelve (domain B).
- The symptoms must be present in two or more settings (domain C).
- There must be clear evidence of significant impairment in social, academic, or occupational functioning (domain D).
- The symptoms are not exclusively attributable to another pervasive developmental disorder or a psychotic disorder, or they are not better explained by another mental disorder (domain E).
The diagnosis is made when an individual meets at least 6 characteristics from either domain A1 or A2, and all characteristics from domains B, C, D, and E. The diagnosis distinguishes between the combined presentation, predominantly inattentive presentation, and predominantly hyperactive/impulsive presentation.
Specific Learning Disorder
What is specific learning disorder?
Specific learning disorder falls under the category of neurodevelopmental disorders, which includes dyslexia and dyscalculia.
- There is difficulty in learning and using academic skills (domain A). The following characteristics are associated with it:
- Struggling with reading.
- Difficulty in comprehending what is read.
- Challenges with spelling.
- Trouble expressing oneself in writing.
- Difficulty with number sense and facts.
- Problems with numerical reasoning.
- In addition to struggling with learning and using academic skills, these difficulties should be significantly below what is expected based on the individual’s chronological age, impacting school performance and work achievements (domain B).
- The learning difficulties typically begin during the school years, but may become more apparent when the related academic skills become more demanding (domain C).
- Furthermore, the learning difficulties should not be better explained by another disorder, disability, psychosocial adversity, language proficiency, or inadequate instruction (domain D).
The diagnosis is made when the individual meets at least one characteristic of domain A for a duration of at least 6 months, despite intervention. Additionally, they should meet all the characteristics of domains B, C, and D.
What is developmental coordination disorder?
Developmental coordination disorder falls under the category of neurodevelopmental disorders.
- The development and execution of coordinated motor skills are significantly below the expected level considering the individual’s chronological age and their ability to learn and use these skills (domain A).
- The motor skills described in domain A have a significant impact on daily functioning and influence school performance, (preparatory) occupational activities, leisure activities, and play (domain B).
- The symptoms typically begin in early childhood (domain C).
- Furthermore, the motor skills difficulties cannot be better explained by intellectual disability, visual impairment, or another neurological condition that affects movement (domain D).
The diagnosis is made when the individual meets all the characteristics of domains A, B, C, and D.
Developmental Coordination Disorder
What is Tourette's syndrome?
Tourette’s disorder falls under the category of neurodevelopmental disorders.
- There are motor and vocal tics present (domain A).
- Motor tics include blinking, eye rolling, facial grimacing, shoulder shrugging, arm movements, or head jerking.
- Vocal tics include coughing, throat clearing, uttering cries or squeaking sounds.
- The tics have been present for more than one year since the onset, although the frequency of tics may fluctuate (domain B).
- The tics begin before the age of 18 (domain C).
- The disorder cannot be attributed to the physiological effects of a substance (domain D).
The diagnosis is made when an individual has two or more motor tics and at least one vocal tic from domain A, but they do not have to occur simultaneously. Additionally, they should meet all the characteristics of domains B, C, and D.
Depressive Mood Disorders
In depressive mood disorders, you experience a numb or irritable mood on a daily basis for a continuous period of at least two weeks. The depressive mood disorder significantly affects your ability to function in daily life. In the intervening periods, the symptoms may diminish or disappear, but there is a recurring pattern. Grief and sadness can cause a great deal of suffering, but they do not directly cause a depressive disorder.
What is depression?
Depression falls under the category of depressive mood disorders.
- The symptoms cause a deviation from previous functioning (domain A). The following characteristics are associated with it:
- Depressed mood (feeling down, sadness, gloominess, hopelessness).
- Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in (almost) all activities.
- Significant weight loss or weight gain without following a diet.
- Insomnia or excessive sleepiness almost every day.
- Psychomotor agitation or retardation.
- Fatigue or loss of energy.
- Cognitive impairment (thoughts of guilt, self-blame, worthlessness).
- Cognitive impairment (problems with concentration and memory, thought inhibition, indecisiveness).
- Recurrent thoughts of death.
- Additionally, these symptoms cause impairment or distress in daily functioning (domain B).
- The period cannot be attributed to the natural effects of a substance or a physical condition (domain C).
- The depressive period cannot be explained by schizophrenia or a psychotic disorder (domain D).
- There has never been a period of elevated mood, activity, or self-confidence (domain E).
The diagnosis is made when five or more symptoms from domain A are present simultaneously for a duration of two weeks, with the inclusion of characteristic 1 or 2. Additionally, all characteristics of domains B, C, D, and E must be met.
In anxiety disorders, there is excessive fear and anxiety, with these two being interconnected. Fear is the emotional response to a threat, while anxiety is the anticipation of a future threat. This typically manifests in panic attacks, although panic attacks can also occur in other psychological disorders.
What is an anxiety disorder?
An anxiety disorder falls under the category of anxiety disorders.
- For at least 6 months, there is a presence of excessive fear and worry related to specific events or activities (domain A).
- Additionally, the individual finds it difficult to control their worry (domain B).
- The following symptoms may be present (domain C). The following characteristics are associated with it:
- Easily becoming fatigued.
- Difficulty concentrating.
- Muscle tension.
- Sleep disturbance.
- The anxiety, worry, or physical symptoms cause functional impairments in social, occupational, or other important areas of life (domain D).
- The disorder cannot be attributed to the physiological effects of a substance or other medical condition (domain E).
- The disorder cannot be better explained by another mental disorder (domain F).
The diagnosis is made when you meet at least 3 characteristics from domain C and all characteristics from domains A, B, D, E, and F.
An anxiety disorder is divided into the following categories, progressing from childhood to adulthood:
- Separation anxiety disorder.
- Selective mutism.
- Specific phobia.
- Social anxiety disorder.
- Panic disorder.
- Generalized anxiety disorder.
- Anxiety disorder due to a substance or medication.
- Anxiety disorder due to a medical condition.
- Other or unspecified anxiety disorder.
In obsessive-compulsive disorders, there is a presence of obsessions and/or compulsive behaviours. It is characterized by persistent and recurring thoughts that are experienced as distressing or unwanted. The obsession compels you to perform certain actions. The individual must strictly adhere to these actions, which are repeatedly performed. Repeated attempts are made to reduce or stop this behaviour.
What is obsessive-compulsive disorder?
Obsessive-compulsive disorder falls under the category of obsessive-compulsive disorders.
- There must be the presence of obsessions and/or compulsions (domain A).
- Obsessions are described as:
- Recurrent and persistent thoughts, impulses, or images that are experienced as intrusive and unwanted during certain moments of the disorder, causing significant anxiety or distress.
- Additionally, the person attempts to ignore or suppress these thoughts, impulses, or images.
- Compulsions are described as:
- Repetitive behaviours or mental acts that the person feels driven to perform in response to an obsession or according to rules that must be applied.
- Furthermore, these behaviours/mental acts are aimed at preventing or reducing anxiety, distress, feared event, or situation.
- Obsessions are described as:
- The obsessions or compulsions are time-consuming or cause functional impairments (domain B).
- The symptoms cannot be attributed to the physiological effects of substances or another somatic cause (domain C).
- The disorder cannot be better explained by the symptoms of another mental disorder (domain D).
The diagnosis is made when you meet one or both characteristics of domain A and all characteristics of domains B, C, and D.
Eating disorders often have consequences of severe physical symptoms, such as low blood pressure, cardiac arrhythmias, or abnormal blood values, including sugar levels. The focus is primarily on weight, eating, and body image.
Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder
What is Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder?
Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder falls under the category of eating disorders.
- It is an eating or feeding disorder characterized by persistent failure to meet one’s own nutritional and/or energy needs (domain A). The following characteristics are associated with this disorder:
- Significant weight loss.
- Significant nutritional deficiencies.
- Dependence on tube feeding or nutritional supplements.
- Clear reduction in functioning in daily life.
- The disorder cannot be better explained by a lack of available food or a culturally sanctioned practice related to food (domain B).
- The disorder does not occur exclusively during the course of another eating disorder (domain C).
- The disorder cannot be solely attributed to a concurrent medical condition or better explained by another mental disorder (domain D).
The diagnosis is made when you meet one or more characteristics of domain A and all characteristics of domains B, C, and D.
Disruptive, Impulse Control, and Conduct Disorders
Disruptive, impulse control, and conduct disorders involve difficulties in emotions, behaviour, and potentially self-control. This can manifest as conflicts with prevailing norms and values within the societal context, violation of the rights of others, destruction, verbal aggression, and/or physical aggression. The causes of these disorders can vary significantly from one individual to another.
What is Oppositional Defiant Disorder?
Oppositional Defiant Disorder falls under the category of disruptive, impulse control, and conduct disorders, which can decrease between 18 and 23 years of age.
- There is a pattern of argumentative and defiant behaviour or vindictiveness combined with an angry or irritable mood for at least 6 months (domain A). The following characteristics are associated with this disorder:
- Frequent temper outbursts.
- Often irritable or easily annoyed.
- Frequently angry.
- Often argues with authority figures.
- Refuses to comply with requests from authority figures.
- Deliberately annoys others.
- Blames others.
- Has been vindictive at least twice in the past 6 months.
- In addition, the disorder causes problems in social interactions with others (domain B).
- The behaviour is not exclusively occurring during the course of psychosis, substance use, depression, or bipolar disorder (domain C).
- The criteria for mood disorders or antisocial personality disorder are not met (domain D).
The diagnosis is made when you meet at least 4 characteristics of domain A and all characteristics of domains B, C, and D.
Oppositional Defiant Disorder
Substance-Related and Addictive Disorders
Substance-related and addictive disorders involve being addicted and dependent on a habit or substance, which controls your life. The behaviour is primarily focused on obtaining and consuming the substance or engaging in the habit. Most people use substances at times to feel better, more confident, and relaxed. With addiction, you use more and are unable to stop.
Internet Gaming Disorder
What is Internet Gaming Disorder?
Internet Gaming Disorder falls under the category of substance-related and addictive disorders. This disorder became an official diagnosis with the introduction of the DSM-5.
- There must be features of internet gaming addiction present:
- Obsession with (online) games.
- Withdrawal symptoms when not playing games.
- Investing more time in gaming.
- Inability to stop or reduce gaming.
- Loss of interest in other aspects of life.
- Awareness of the impact of gaming on one’s life.
- Lying about the amount of time spent gaming.
- Using gaming as a way to escape anxiety or guilt.
- Putting relationships and life opportunities at risk due to gaming behaviour.
The diagnosis is made when you meet at least 5 of the above criteria for a duration of one year.