of Mental and
World Health Organization
The World Health Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations with primary responsibility for
international health matters and public health. Through this organization, which was created in 1948, the health
professions of some 180 countries exchange their knowledge and experience with the aim of making possible the
attainment by all citizens of the world by the year 2000 of a level of health that will permit them to lead a socially and
economically productive life.
By means of direct technical cooperation with its Member States, and by stimulating such cooperation among them,
WHO promotes the development of comprehensive health services, the prevention and control of diseases, the
improvement of environmental conditions, the development of human resources for health, the coordination and
development of biomedical and health services research, and the planning and implementation of health programmes.
These broad fields of endeavour encompass a wide variety of activities, such as developing systems of primary health
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immunization against a number of other preventable diseases; improving mental health; providing safe water supplies;
and training health personnel of all categories.
Progress towards better health throughout the world also demands international cooperation in such matters as
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revising the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Heath Problems; and collecting and
disseminating health statistical information.
Reflecting the concerns and priorities of the Organization and its Member States, WHO publications provide
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of Mental and
World Health Organization
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full. Applications and enquiries should be addressed to the Office of Publications, World Health Organization, Geneva,
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c World Health Organization 1992
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Notes for users
ICD-10 Chapter V(F) and associated diagnostic instruments
List of categories
Diagnostic criteria for research
Annex 1. Provisional criteria for selected disorders
Annex 2. Culture-specific disorders
List of individual experts
List of field trial coordinating centres, field trial centres reporting
to them, and directors
In the early 1960s, the Mental Health Programme of the World Health Organization (WHO) became actively
engaged in a programme aiming to improve the diagnosis and classification of mental disorders. At that time, WHO
convened a series of meetings to review knowledge, actively involving representatives of different disciplines, various
schools of thought in psychiatry, and all parts of the world in the programme. It stimulated and conducted research on
criteria for classification and for reliability of diagnosis, and produced and promulgated procedures for joint rating of
videotaped interviews and other useful research methods. Numerous proposals to improve the classification of mental
disorders resulted from the extensive consultation process, and these were used in drafting the Eighth Revision of the
International Classification of Diseases (ICD-8). A glossary defining each category of mental disorder in ICD-8 was also
developed. The programme activities also resulted in the establishment of a network of individuals and centres who
continued to work on issues related to the improvement of psychiatric classification (1,2).
The 1970s saw further growth of interest in improving psychiatric classification worldwide. Expansion of
international contacts, the undertaking of several international collaborative studies, and the availability of new treatments
all contributed to this trend. Several national psychiatric bodies encouraged the development of specific criteria for
classification in order to improve diagnostic reliability. In particular, the American Psychiatric Association developed
and promulgated its Third Revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, which incorporated operational criteria into
its classification system.
In 1978, WHO entered into along-term collaborative project with the Alcohol, Drug Abuse and Mental Health
Administration (ADAMHA) in the USA, aiming to facilitate further improvements in the classification and diagnosis of
mental disorders, and alcohol- and drug-related problems (3). A series of workshops brought together scientists from a
number of different psychiatric traditions and cultures, reviewed knowledge in specified areas, and developed
recommendations for future research. A major international conference on classification and diagnosis was held in
Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1982 to review the recommendations that emerged from these workshops and to outline a
research agenda and guidelines for future work (4).
Several major research efforts were undertaken to implement the recommendations of the Copenhagen
conference. One of them, involving centres in 17 countries, had as its aim the development of the Composite
International Diagnostic Interview, an instrument suitable for conducting epidemiological studies of mental disorders in
general population groups in different countries (5). Another major project focused on developing an assessment
instrument suitable for use by clinicians (Schedules for Clinical Assessment in Neuropsychiatry) (6). Still another study
was initiated to develop an instrument for the assessment of personality disorders in different countries (the International
Personality Disorder Examination) (7).
In addition, several lexicons have been, or are being, prepared to provide clear definitions of terms (8). A
mutually beneficial relationship evolved between these projects and the work on definitions of mental and behavioral
disorders in the Tenth Revision of the International Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-10) (9).
Converting diagnostic criteria into
diagnostic algorithms incorporated in the assessment instruments was useful in uncovering inconsistencies, ambiguities
and overlap and allowing their removal. The work on refining the ICD-10 also helped to shape the assessment
instruments. The final result was a clear set of criteria for ICD-10 and assessment instruments which can produce data
necessary for the classification of disorders according to the criteria included in Chapter V (F) of ICD-10.
The Copenhagen conference also recommended that the viewpoints of the different psychiatric traditions be
presented in publications describing the origins of the classification in the ICD-10. This resulted in several major
publications, including a volume that contains a series of presentations highlighting the origins of classification in
contemporary psychiatry (10).
The Clinical descriptions and diagnostic guidelines was the first of a series of publications developed from
Chapter V (F) of ICD-10 (11). This publication was the culmination of the efforts of numerous people who have
contributed to it over many years. The work has gone through several major drafts, each prepared after extensive
consultation with panels of experts, national and international psychiatric societies, and individual consultants. The draft
in use in 1987 was the basis of field trials conducted in some 40 countries, which constituted the largest ever research
effort of its type designed to improve psychiatric diagnosis (12,13). The results of the trials were used in finalizing the
The text presented here has also been extensively tested (14), involving researchers and clinicians in 32 countries.
A list of these is given at the end of the book together with a list of people who helped in drafting texts or
commented on them. Further texts will follow: they include a version for use by general health care workers, a
multiaxial presentation of the classification, a series of ‘fascicles’ dealing in more detail with special problems (e.g. a
fascicle on the assessment and classification of mental retardation) and “crosswalks” – allowing cross-reference between
corresponding terms in ICD-10, ICD-9 and ICD-8.
Use of this publication is described in the Notes for Users. The Appendix provides suggestions for diagnostic
criteria which could be useful in research on several conditions which do not appear as such in the ICD-10 (except as
index terms) and crosswalks allowing the translation of ICD-10 into ICD-9 and ICD-8 terms. The Acknowledgements
section is of particular significance since it bears witness to the vast number of individual experts and institutions, all over
the world, who actively participated in the production of the classification and the various texts that accompany it. All
the major traditions and schools of psychiatry are represented, which gives this work its uniquely international character.
The classification and the guidelines were produced and tested in many languages; the arduous process of ensuring
equivalence of translations has resulted in improvements in the clarity, simplicity and logical structure of the texts in
English and in other languages.
The ICD-10 proposals are thus a product of collaboration, in the true sense of the word, between very many
individuals and agencies in numerous countries. They were produced in the hope that they will serve as a strong support
to the work of the many who are concerned with caring for the mentally ill and their families, worldwide.
No classification is ever perfect: further improvements and simplifications should become possible with increases
in our knowledge and as experience with the classification accumulates. The task of collecting and digesting comments
and reasults of tests of the classification will remain largely on the shoulders of the centres that collaborated with WHO in
the development of the classification. Their addresses are listed below because it is hoped that they will continue to be
involved in the improvement of the WHO classifications and associated materials in the future and to assist the
Organization in this work as generously as they have so far.
Numerous publications have arisen from Field Trial Centers describing results of their studies in connection with
ICD-10. A full list of these publications and reprints of the articles can be obtained from WHO, Division of Mental
A classification is a way of seeing the world at a point in time. There is no doubt that scientific progress and
experience with the use of these guidelines will require their revision and updating. I hope that such revisions will be the
product of the same cordial and productive worldwide scientific collaboration as that which has produced the current text.
Director, Division of Mental Health
World Health Organization
1. Kramer M et al. The ICD-9 classification of mental disorders: a review of its development and contents. Acta
psychiatrica scandinavica, 1979, 59: 241-262.
2. Sartorius N. Classification: an international perspective. Psychiatric annals, 1976, 6: 22-35.
3. Jablensky A et al. Diagnosis and classification of mental disorders and alcohol- and drug-related problems: a
research agenda for the 1980s. Psychological medicine, 1983, 13: 907-921.
4. Mental disorders, alcohol- and drug-related problems: international perspectives on their diagnosis and
classification. Amsterdam, Excerpta Medica, 1985 (International Congress Series, No. 669).
5. Robins L et al. The composite international diagnostic interview. Archives of general psychiatry, 1989, 45:
6. Wing JK et al. SCAN: Schedules for clinical assessment in neuropsychiatry. Archives of general psychiatry,
1990, 47: 589-593.
7. Loranger AW et al. The WHO/ADAMHA International Pilot Study of Personality Disorders. Archives of
general psychiatry (in press).
8. Loranger AW et al. The WHO/ADAMHA International Pilot Study of Personality Disorders: background and
purpose. Journal of personality disorders, 1991, 5: 296-306.
9. Lexicon of psychiatric and mental health terms. Vol. I. Geneva, World Health Organization, 1989.
10. International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems. Tenth Revision. Vol. 1:
Tabular list. Vol. 2: Instruction manual. Vol. 3: Index. Geneva, World Health Organization, 1992.
11. Sartorius N et al., eds. Sources and traditions in classification in psychiatry. Toronto, Hegrefe and Huber, 1990.
12. The ICD-10 Classification of Mental and Behavioural Disorders. Clinical descriptions and diagnostic
guidelines. Geneva, World Health Organization, 1992.
13. Sartorius N et al., eds. Psychiatric classification in an international perspective. British journal of psychiatry,
1988, 152 (Suppl.).
14. Sartorius N et al. Progress towards achieving a common language in psychiatry: results from the field trials of the
clinical guidelines accompanying the WHO Classification of Mental and Behavioural Disorders in ICD-10.
Archives of general psychiatry, 1993, 50: 115-124.
15. Sartorius N et al. Progress towards achieving a common language in psychiatry. II: Diagnostic criteria for
research for ICD-10 Mental and Behavioural Disorders. Results from the international field trials. American
journal of psychiatry (in press).
Many individuals and organizations have contributed to the production of the classification of mental and behavioural
disorders in ICD-10 and to the development of the texts that accompany it. The Acknowledgements section of the ICD-
10 Clinical descriptions and diagnostic guidelines1 contains a list of researchers and clinicians in some 40 countries who
participated in the trials of that document. A similar list is provided on pages xx-xx of this work. It is clearly impossible
to list all those who have helped in the production of the texts and in their testing, but every effort has been made to
include at least all those whose contributions were central to the creation of the documents that make up the ICD-10
“family” of classifications and guidelines.
Dr A. Jablensky, then Senior Medical Officer in the Division of Mental Health of WHO in Geneva, coordinated the first
part of the programme, and thus made a major contribution to the development of the proposals for the text of the criteria.
After the proposals for the classification had been assembled and circulated for comment to WHO expert panels and
many other individuals, an amended version of the classification was produced for field tests. Tests were conducted
according to a protocol produced by WHO staff with the help of Dr J.E. Cooper and other consultants mentioned below,
and involved a large number of centres (listed on pages xx-xx) whose work was coordinated by Field Trial Coordinating
Centres. The Coordinating Centres, listed below and on pages xx-xx, also undertook the task of producing equivalent
versions of Diagnostic criteria for research in the languages used in their countries.
1 The ICD-10 Classification of Mental and Behavioural Disorders. Clinical
descriptions and diagnostic guidelines. Geneval, World Health Organization,
Dr N. Sartorius had overall responsiblity for the work on classification of mental and behavioural disorders in
ICD-10 and for the production of accompanying documents.
Throughout the work on the ICD-10 documents, Dr J. E. Cooper acted as a chief consultant to the project and
provided invaluable guidance and help to the WHO coordinating team. Among the team members were Dr J. van
Drimmelen, who has worked with WHO from the beginning of the process of developing ICD-10 proposals, Dr B. Üstün
who has made particularly valuable contributions during the field trials of the criteria and the analysis of the data they
produced. Mr A. L’Hours, technical officer, Strengthening of Epidemiological and Statistical Services, provided
generous support, ensuring compliance between the ICD-10 development in general and the production of this
classification. Mrs J. Wilson conscientiously and efficiently handled the innumerable administrative tasks linked to the
field tests and other activities related to the project. Mrs Ruthbeth Finerman, associated professor in anthropology,
provided the information upon which Appendix 2: Culture-specific disorders, is based.
A number of other consultants, including Dr A. Bertelsen, Dr H. Dilling, Dr J. Lopez-Ibor, Dr C. Pull, Dr D.
Regier, Dr M. Rutter and Dr N. Wig, were also closely involved in this work, functioning not only as heads of FTCCs for
the field trials but also providing advice and guidance about issues in their area of expertise and relevant to the psychiatric
traditions of the groups of countries about which they were particularly knowledgeable.
Among the agencies whose help was of vital importance were the Alcohol, Drug Abuse and Mental Health
Administration in the USA, which provided generous support to the activities preparatory to the drafting of ICD-10, and
which ensured effective and productive consultation between groups working on ICD-10 and those working on the fourth
revision of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM-IV) classification. Close direct
collaboration with the chairmen and the work groups of the APA task force in DSMIV chaired by Dr A. Frances allowed
an extensive exchange of views and helped in ensuring compatibility between the texts. Invaluable help was also
provided by the WHO Advisory Committee on ICD-10, chaired by Dr E. Strömgren; the World Psychiatric Association
and its special committee on classification, the World Federation for Mental Health, the World Association for
Psychosocial Rehabilitation, the World Association of Social Psychiatry, the World Federation of Neurology, the
International Union of Psychological Societies, and the WHO Collaborating Centres for Research and Training in Mental
Health, located in some 40 countries, were particularly useful in the collection of commments and suggestions from their
parts of the world.
Governments of WHO Member States, including in particular Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and the
USA, also provided direct support to the process of developing the classification of mental and behavioural disorders,
both through their designated contributions to WHO and through contributions and financial support to the centres that
participated in this work.
Field Trial Coordinating Centres and Directors:
Dr A. Bertelsen, Institute of Psychiatric Demography, Psychiatric Hospital, University of Aarhus, 8240 Risskov,
Dr D. Caetano, Department of Psychiatry, Universidade Estadual de Campinas
Caixa Postal 1170, 13100 Campinas, S.P., Brazil
Dr S. Channabasavanna, National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences, P.O. Box 2979, Bangalore 560029,
Dr H.Dilling, Klinik für Psychiatrie der Medizinischen Hochschule, Ratzeburger Allee 160, 2400 Lübeck, Germany
Dr M. Gelder, Department of Psychiatry, Oxford University Hospital,
Warneford Hospital, Old Road, Headington, Oxford, United Kingdom
Dr D. Kemali, Istituto di Psichiatria, Prima Facoltà Medica, Università di Napoli, Largo Madonna della Grazie, 80138
Dr J.J. Lopez Ibor Jr., Clinica Lopez Ibor, Av. Nueva Zelanda 44
Puerto de Hierro, Madrid 35, Spain
Dr G. Mellsop, The Wellington Clinical School, Wellington Hospital, Wellington 2, New Zealand
Dr Y. Nakane, Department of Neuropsychiatry, Nagasaki University, School of Medicine, 7-1 Sakamoto-Machi,
Nagasaki 852, Japan
Dr A. Okasha, Department of Psychiatry, Ain Shams University, 3 Shawarby Street, Kasr-El-Nil, Cairo, Egypt
Dr Ch. Pull, Service de Neuropsychiatrie, Centre Hospitalier de Luxembourg, 4, rue Barblé, Luxembourg, Luxembourg
Dr D. Regier, Director, Division of Clinical Research, Room 10-105, National Institute of Mental Health, 5600 Fishers
Lane, Rockville, Md. 20857, USA
Dr S. Tzirkin, All Union Research Centre of Mental Health, Institute of Psychiatry, Academy of Medical Sciences,
Zagorodnoye Shosse d.2, Moscow 113152
Dr Xu Tao-Yuan, Department of Psychiatry, Shanghai Psychiatric Hospital, 600 Wan Ping Nan Lu, Shanghai, People’s
Republic of China
Former Directors of FTCCs:
Dr J. Cooper, Department of Psychiatry, Queen’s Medical Centre, Clifton Boulevard, Nottingham NG7 2UH, United
Dr R. Takahashi, Department of Psychiatry, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, 5-45 Yushima, 1-Chome, Bunkyo-
ku, Tokyo, Japan
Dr N. Wig, Regional Adviser for Mental Health, World Health Organization Regional
Office for the Eastern Mediterranean, P.O. Box 1517, Alexandria 21511, Egypt
Dr Young Derson, Hunan Medical College, Changsha, Hunan, China
NOTES FOR USERS
1. The Diagnostic Criteria for Research accompanying the ICD-10 (DCR-10) are designed for use in research;
their content is derived from the Glossary to the chapter on Mental and Behavioural Disorders in the ICD-10
(Chapter V(F)). They provide specific criteria for diagnoses contained in the “Clinical Descriptions and
Diagnostic Guidelines” (CDDG) that have been produced for general clinical and educational use by
psychiatrists and other mental health professionals (WHO 1992).
2. Although completely compatible with the Glossary in ICD-10 and the CDDG, the DCR-10 have a different
style and lay-out. Researchers using the DCR-10 should first make themselves familiar with the CDDG, since
the DCR-10 are not designed to be used alone. The DCR-10 do not contain the descriptions of the clinical
concepts upon which the research criteria are based, nor any comments on commonly associated features
which, although not essential for diagnosis, may well be relevant for both clinicians and researchers. These
are to be found, for each disorder in turn, in the CDDG. The introductory chapters of the CDDG also contain
information and comments that are relevant for both clinical and research uses of the ICD-10. It is presumed
that anyone using the DCR-10 will have a copy of the CDDG.
3. In addition to the obvious differences in lay-out and detail between the DCR-10 and the CDDG, there are
some other differences between them that need to be appreciated before the DCR-10 can be used
a) The DCR-10, like other published diagnostic criteria for research, are purposefully restrictive in that their use
allows the selection
of groups of subjects whose symptoms and other characteristics resemble each other in clearly stated ways. This
increases the likelihood of obtaining homogenous groups of patients but limits the generalizations that can be
made. Researchers wishing to study the overlap of disorders or the best way to define boundaries between
them may therefore need to supplement the criteria so as to allow the inclusion of atypical cases depending
upon the purposes of the study.
b) With a few exceptions, it is not appropriate to provide detailed criteria for the “other” (.8) categories in the
overall classification of Chapter V F, and by definition it is never appropriate for “unspecified” (.9).
Appendix 1 (pxx) contains suggestions for criteria for some of these exceptions; their placement in an
Appendix implies that although their present status is somewhat controversial or tentative, further research on
them is to be encouraged.
c) Similarly, there is no requirement for extensive rules on mutual exclusions and co-morbidity in a set of
diagnostic criteria for research, since different research projects have varied requirements for these, depending
upon their aims. Some of the more frequently used and obvious exclusion clauses have been included in the
DCR-10 as a reminder and for the convenience of users, and if required more can be found in the CDDG.
4. The general ICD rule of not using interference with social role performance as a diagnostic criterion has been
followed in the DCR-10 as far as possible. There are a few unavoidable exceptions, the most
obvious being Dementia, Simple Schizophrenia and Dissocial Personality Disorder. Once the decision had been
made to include these somewhat controversial disorders in the classification, it was considered best to do
so without modifying the concepts. Experience and further research
should show whether these decisions were justified.
For many of the disorders of childhood and adolescence, some form of interference with social behaviour and
relationships is included amongst the diagnostic criteria. At first sight this appears to go against the general
ICD rule that interference with the performance of social roles should not be used as defining characteristics
of disorders or diseases. But a close examination of the disturbances that are being classified in F8 and F9
shows that social criteria are needed because of the more complicated and interactive nature of the subject
matter. Children often show general misery and frustration, but rarely produce specific complaints and
symptoms equivalent to those that characterise the more individually conceptualised disorders of adults.
Many of the disorders in F8 and F9 are joint disturbances which can only be described by indicating how roles
within the family, school or peer group are affected.
The problem is apparent rather than real, and is caused by the use of the term “disorder” for all the sections of Chapter
V(F). The term is used to cover many varieties of disturbance, and different types of disturbance need
different types of information to describe them.
5. For the same reasons as given in 3c), definitions of remission, relapse, and duration of episodes have been
provided in the DCR-10 in only a limited number of instances. Further suggestions will be found in the
Lexicon of terms to Chapter V (F) of ICD-10.
6. The criteria are labelled with letters or numbers to indicate their place in a hierarchy of generality and
importance. General criteria that must be fulfilled by all members of a group of disorders (such as the general
criteria for all varieties of dementia, or for the main types of schizophrenia) are labelled with a capital G, plus
a number. Obligatory
criteria for individual disorders are labelled by capitals only (A,B,C, etc.). Ordinary numbers (1,2,3, etc.) and lower
case letters (a,b, etc.) are used to identify further groups and sub-groups of characteristics, of which only some
are required for the diagnosis. To avoid the use of “and/or”, when it is specified that either of two criteria is
required, then it is always assumed that the presence of both criteria also satisfies the requirement.
7. When the DCR-10 are used in research on patients who also suffer from neurological disorders, researchers
may wish to use the Neurological Adaptation of the ICD-10 …
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