The International Classification of Diseases

The International Classification of Diseases

introduction to International Classification of Diseases (ICD)

International Classification of Diseases (ICD) is the international medical technique used in analyzing the spread and control of diseases, health administration and functions of health facilities. The ICD is upheld by the World Health Organization (WHO), which coordinates health within the United Nations System. Diseases are divided into classes using short codes in accordance to the disorders manifested and grievances that are seen in individuals. The logistics is used to represent health conditions in regard to the specifications made and assigning short symbols to them in order to classify them.

History of International Classification of Diseases (ICD)

The ICD is known for its continuous revisions and is presently in its tenth edition. In 1860, there was a formal gathering held in London where an overture was made on the development of a systematic collection model for collection of hospital information. In 1893, there was introduction of a method for division of the causes of death in a congress held in Chicago. There was high adoption of this method of classification which was rooted on a fundamental assumption that differentiated between common illness and the diseases that are fixed in a particular organ. Succeeding changed editions followed and there was recommendation that modifications should continue so that there will be consistency in the medical field. The first conference was held in 1900 to revise the International Classification of Causes of Death and henceforth revisions are undertaken every ten years.

Little changes were made in the subsequent revisions until the sixth edition where there was expansion to two partitions. This edition contained unwholesomeness and susceptibility to death and hence the subject was changed to reflect the change: International Statistical Classification of Diseases, Injuries and Causes of Death (ICD). Before the sixth edition, obligation for the modification of the ICD was on the Mixed Commission. In 1948, the WHO took the position of duty of the revision of ICD every decade (Tyrer, 2014). It facilitated changes in the seventh and eighth editions in 1967 and 1968 in accordance. Later, the ten year gap was determined to be too short. The ICD is nowadays the most extensive classification method of diseases globally. Some countries such as Australia and United States have created their own adjustments of ICD which have more process symbols for division into classes of medical procedures.

Purpose and Use of ICD

The ICD is used by the WHO for global unwholesomeness and susceptibility to death data, compensating complex and decision making facilitation in health care. This system promotes equivalence in the gathering, processing, division into classes and delivery of data obtained. ICD is used to majorly classify health malfunctions and provide remedies for these disorders. This is helpful since there will always be something that health professionals can look up to when they need solutions for their patients.

ICD 7 is used in meeting the needs of heath care facilities such as recording and in the general operation. ICD 8 is used for formal unwholesomeness and susceptibility to death statistics. The revision that followed was ICD 9 which is used by hospitals to provide clarity into the condition of the patient being diagnosed.  The data that is obtained from the use of ICD 9 codes has become standard in providing reports on unwholesomeness in patients (Tyrer, 2014).

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is issued by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and it establishes a ground for the division of mental malfunctions. It’s reliable and is used by health facilities, health professionals, in law and by pharmacists (Tyrer, 2014). It used together with complements such as ICD-10 Classification of Mental and Behavioral Disorders that is established by the WHO. Revisions are however not consistently made in DSM.

The history of DSM

The chronologically first development of division into classes of mental malfunctions was for the need to gather data. In 1840, there was singling out of insanity. Three years later, there was dissent and identification of errors that had been found in the statements of insanity, dumbness and pantomime in nations. There was claim that Africa-Americans had been termed as insane in most towns in the United States. The Association of Medical Superintendents of American Institute for the Insane was established in 1844 which later changed to American Medico-Psychological Association in 1892 and to the current American Psychiatric Association in 1921. There was expansion from two categories to twenty five in 1880. Categories identified included dementia, paresis, mania, melancholia and epilepsy. The association adopted these sections. In 1917, there was establishment of a guide for mental disorders that included 22 diagnoses that had to be modified with time.

Purpose and Uses of DSM

Used to help establish and communicate the data relating to a patient after diagnosis. Institutions such as health insurance companies and clinics will require data about the patients. Patients can easily be classified into groups for the purposes of research (Wittchen, 1994). The purpose of DSM is provision of crystal analysis of the classes of division that help researchers understand and treat people with various mental malfunctions. Knowledge on mental disorders is helpful since medical practitioners can be able to identify easily the illness of their patients and the remedies that are available


Tyrer, P. (2014). A comparison of DSM and ICD classifications of mental disorder. Advances in psychiatric treatment, 20(4), 280-285.

Wittchen, H. U. (1994). Reliability and validity studies of the WHO-Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI): a critical review. Journal of psychiatric research, 28(1), 57-84.

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