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DSM-5 Codes

DSM-5 Frequently Asked Questions

As NASW members prepare for the implementation of the codes and criteria of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5), they have contacted NASW with questions. The Association has compiled a list of frequently asked questions by its members to help clinical social workers prepare for DSM-5 changes in clinical practice.

When will the DSM-5 be implemented?

The DSM-5 codes will be implemented on October 1, 2015. Implementation of the DSM-5 criteria may vary per third-party payer. Contact the insurance company with whom you are paneled to determine their implementation date for the DSM-5 criteria.

What is the difference between the DSM-5 codes and the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Edition, Clinical Modification (ICD-10-CM) codes?

The DSM-5 codes are harmonized with the ICD-10-CM codes. Beginning October 1, 2015, the mental health diagnostic codes will be referred to as the ICD-10-CM codes. The DSM-5 identifies the diagnostic criteria to use when determining a mental health disorder.

Does the DSM-5 include a list of the ICD-10-CM codes required on October 1, 2015?

Yes, it includes a list of the ICD-10-CM codes in the appendix section of the DSM-5 manual.

What disorders in the DSM-IV were deleted in the DSM-5?

The Sexual Aversion Disorder and the Polysubstance-Related Disorder were deleted.

Since the multi-axial system has been deleted in the DSM-5, what is replacing it?

The DSM-5 uses a nonaxial documentation of diagnosis combining Axis I, II, and III. You will continue to list the appropriate diagnoses and medical conditions without axial designations. For Axis IV (psychosocial factors), separate notations are made and the ICD-10 Z codes may be used. Separate notations are also made for Axis V (Global Assessment of Functioning Scale) by using standardized assessments for diagnostic severity and disability. The current measure of disability for clinical use is the World Health Organization Disability Assessment Schedule (WHODAS 2.0). The WHODAS is based on the International Classification of Functioning (ICF) which is applicable to any health condition. A copy of the WHODAS 2.0 may be found in Section III of the DSM-5 manual.

Were the Personality Disorders deleted?

No, the Personality Disorders are listed in Section II of the DSM-5 which includes the diagnostic criteria and codes. The Personality Disorders are also listed in Section III which includes conditions requiring additional research.

What are measure assessments in the DSM-5?

Measure assessments assist in a comprehensive assessment of a patient and contribute to a diagnosis and treatment plan focused on the patient’s clinical presentation and context.

What are some of the new disorders in the DSM-5 clinical social workers should know about?

Clinical social workers should familiarize themselves with all of the 15 new disorders. Some of the new disorders include Hoarding Disorder, Major Neurocognitive and Minor Neurocognitive Disorders, Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder, Binge Eating Disorder, Caffeine Withdrawal Disorder, and Cannabis Withdrawal Disorder.

What happened to mental retardation in the DSM-5?

Mental retardation was replaced with a new term, “Intellectual Disability or Intellectual Disorder (ID).”

When is the last day a clinical social worker may use the DSM-IV/ICD-9-CM codes?

September 30, 2015 is the last day a clinical social worker and other mental health providers will be able to use the DSM-IV/ICD-9-CM codes.

Are there any discounts available for purchasing the DSM-5?

NASW has acquired a 21 percent discount through Visit our home page at and scroll down to DSM-5.

Where can I receive training on the DSM-5?

For NASW members, the national office of NASW offers Webinar trainings on the DSM-5 through the Professional Education and Training Center online at and through the Specialty Practice Section online on the national NASW website. In addition, the NASW 2014 National Conference in Washington DC scheduled for July 2014, will offer a DSM-5 Workshop. Information and registration for the national conference is available online at:


  • American Psychiatric Association. 2013. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition. Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Association.
  • The National Association of Social Workers 750 First Street NE Suite 700 Washington, DC 20002-4241 ©2014 National Association of Social Workers. All Rights Reserved.

The information above was originally published in the July 2014 FOCUS newsletter.
Author: Mirean Coleman, LICSW, CT; Senior Practice Associate, National NASW.

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