Categorical Approaches to Classification of Mental Disorders

Contrary to the dimensional approach, categorical approaches focus on the presence or absence of a particular condition or set of symptoms. The most commonly used diagnostic manuals, such as DSM and ICD use a categorical approach in their classification of mental disorders. Categorical approaches have been criticized somewhat, because they fail to include several critical elements of disorders in the diagnosis, such as individual differences in severity or in contributing factors, variances in appearance of various disorders, and comorbidity with other disorders.