DSM Decision Trees for Differential DiagnosisThe purpose of these decision trees is to aid the clinician in understanding the organization and hierarchical structure of the DSM-IV Classification. Each decision tree starts with a set of clinical features. When one of these features is a prominent part of the presenting clinical picture, the clinician can follow the series of questions to rule in or rule out various disorders. Note that the questions are only approximations of the diagnostic criteria and are not meant to replace them.
The Psychotic Disorders decision tree is the only one that contains disorders that are mutually exclusive (i.e., only one disorder from that section can be diagnosed in a given individual for a particular episode). For the other decision trees, it is important to refer to the individual criteria sets to determine when more than one diagnosis may apply.