Differential diagnosis of “Religious or Spiritual Problem” – possibilities and limitations implied by the V-code 62.89 in DSM-5
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Zakład Psychopatologii i Psychoprofilaktyki Akademii Ignatianum w Krakowie
Submission date: 2014-12-05
Final revision date: 2015-07-22
Acceptance date: 2015-08-17
Publication date: 2016-02-28
Corresponding author
Jacek Prusak   

Zakład Psychopatologii i Psychoprofilaktyki Akademii Ignatianum w Krakowie, ul. Skarbowa 4, 31-121 Kraków, Polska
Psychiatr Pol 2016;50(1):175-186
Work over preparation of DSM-5 has been a stimulus for research and reflection over the impact of religious/spiritual factors on phenomenology, differential diagnosis, course, outcome and prognosis of mental disorders. Aim. The aim of this paper is to present the attitude of DSM towards religion and spirituality in the clinical context. Even though DSM is not in use in Poland, in contrast to ICD, it gives a different, not only psychopathological, look at religious or spiritual problems.

The paper is based on in-depth analysis of V-code 62.89 (“Religious or spiritual problem”) from historical, theoretical and clinical perspective.

The introduction of non-reductive approach to religious and spiritual problems to DSM can be considered as a manifestation of the development of this psychiatric classification with regard to the differential diagnosis between religion and spirituality and psychopathology. By placing religion and spirituality mainly in the category of culture, the authors of DSM-5 have established their solution to the age-old debate concerning the significance of religion/spirituality in clinical practice. Even though, DSM-5 offers an expanded understanding of culture and its impact on diagnosis, the V-code 62.89 needs to be improved taking into account some limitations of DSM classification.

The development of DSM, from its fourth edition, brought a change into the approach towards religion and spirituality in the context of clinical diagnosis. Introducing V-code 62.89 has increased the possibility of differential diagnosis between religion/spirituality and health/psychopathology. The emphasis on manifestation of cultural diversity has enabled non-reductive and non-pathologising insight into the problems of religious and spirituality. On the other hand, medicalisation and psychiatrisation of various existential problems, which can be seen in subsequent editions of the DSM, encourages pathologising approach towards religious or spiritual problems. Clinical look at religion and spirituality should therefore go beyond the limitations of DSM.

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