If one were to browse the DSM, one could easily diagnosis family members, friends and coworkers as suffering from assorted forms, and to various degrees, of mental health issues. Although the text found in the DSM is not difficult to read, if one has not endured extensive years of education, the technical jargon will remain a mystery and the correct meaning may never be reasonably deduced from the context. Therefore, the layman can neither properly understand nor correctly implement the suggested courses of action. More to the point, the layman could not be certain if his diagnosis were correct.
If we were pursue the book, we would not expect to find any contradictions, although we would not be surprised if a handful of contradictions were to be found in a large book. However, we would expect to find contradictions among the various reasonable conclusions from the myriad of statements. These reasoned conclusions are the result of many contributors to the book and we remind the Gentle Reader that it would not be necessary for all contributors to read all the sections. We suggest that these reasoned contradictions do not invalidate the valuable insight into the human condition over many years. These reasoned contradictions, regardless of the number of instances discovered, would be one inevitable result from a massive manual of 991 pages.
We consider it foolish to read the DSM-5 without any knowledge of the previous editions. By starting from the initial version, the reader would become notice the changes and increasing volume through the subsequent editions. To correctly read the book, the layman would need a basic knowledge of psychology, a basic knowledge of the history of psychology and working knowledge of the words and technical terms found in the text. The serious student of the DSM-5 will need access to various psychological books, as general books, even an extensive encyclopedia, will not be sufficient to properly and adequately understand the book. Therefore, it is impossible to understand the DSM-5 by only relying on the DSM-5.
Yet, we are not surprised to learn that so many people throughout the years have attempted to practice psychology, or certain tenants of psychology, without any regard for historical context. We feel confident in suggesting that these individuals were supremely confident in, and held higher opinions of, their ability than reality would warrant, that is, they were unaware. Some people may maintain that the before the publication of the DSM-5, no one either correctly understood the tenets of psychology or correctly practiced psychology. These misguided individuals insist, and expect others to believe, that the book was printed first, and that the entire pertinent and accepted history of psychology starts with the first published edition. We presume that the irrelevant historical development of psychology and accumulated experience of psychology can be conveniently ignored. We are not certain that this presumption is correct.
Since literacy is almost universal in the Modern Age, we hold to the opinion that too many people read this beguiling book without the prerequisite groundwork. We are certain that any structure built on a foundation of multiple aspects of ignorance will show great variances in outcomes. This is the architectural equivalent of using one blueprint, yet various contractors produce single homes, duplexes, offices, stadiums and skyscrapers. Since the exteriors of these structures neither conform to the stated intentions of the blueprint nor are they exact copies of one another, we are confident that various aspects of the interior, the utilities, for example, are haphazardly installed. Although our contractors are outspoken and maintain the integrity of the blueprints, their efforts and results obviously betray their express statements. Clearly, these various outcomes are the direct result of the readers, or contractors, bringing their limited personal experiences and questionable judgments to understand the text, or blueprint.
In conclusion, it should be clear to even the most casual reader that this book is best utilized and interpreted by capable professionals.