The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), published by the American Psychiatric Organization, forms the principal resource for the diagnosis and classification of mental disorders in the US and to varying extents worldwide. After a 20 year hiatus, the manual was finally updated this year with the release of the DSM-5. The fifth edition sought to distil the past two decades of research into updates and amendments of previous criteria, with notable changes to the classification of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).

In the first of two podcasts, BMC Medicine Senior Editor Ursula D’Souza, spoke to chair of the DSM-5 taskforce, David Kupfer, on the main challenges faced by DSM-5 and its potential impact on global mental health classifications and diagnosis.

David Kupfer, professor of psychiatry and professor of neuroscience and clinical and translational science, University of Pittsburgh, USA.


“We wanted this fifth edition to help clinicians more precisely diagnose mental disorders. DSM-5 does that by representing the best available science and clinical experience. This new manual is truly a guidebook that will help clinicians better serve their patients”
David Kupfer, University of Pittsburgh




David Kupfer is both professor of psychiatry and professor of neuroscience and clinical and translational science at the University of Pittsburgh, USA. Having qualified in medicine at Yale University, USA, Kupfer continued to his clinical and research training at Yale New Haven Hospital and the National Institute of Mental Health. He also served as chair of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and director of research at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, USA. Kupfer’s primary research interests focus on long-term treatment strategies for recurrent mood disorders, the pathogenesis of depression, and the relationship between biomarkers and depression.

Taking a view from across the pond, Eric Taylor, emeritus professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, UK, reviews the changes in DSM-5 with regards to ADHD, and considers whether this will affect clinical practice and what the future holds for the diagnosis of this disorder.

Eric Taylor, emeritus professor of child and adolescent psychiatry, King’s College London, UK.


“[ADHD] is not part of disruptive disorders now, it’s part of neurodevelopmental disorders, which I think is a step forward. […] The changes in DSM-5 have also made it a bit easier to diagnose ADHD in adults”
Eric Taylor, King’s College London



In addition to his position at King’s College London, Eric Taylor is an honorary consultant at the Maudsley Hospital, London, UK. Taylor has chaired the UK’s NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) guidelines development group for ADHD. He is also a trustee of the National Academy of Parenting Practitioners, non-executive director of the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and honorary fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.


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  • Kai

    DSM-5 will help solve diagnostic problems we met before.

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