Since its first edition, the Diagnostic and Statistical manual of Mental disorders (DSM) has had a great impact on the scientific community and the public opinion as well. In 2013, the American Psychiatric Association released the fifth edition of the manual and - as for the previous versions - several criticisms raised. In particular, the persistence of the categorical approach to mental disorders represents one of the main debated topics, as well as the introduction of new diagnostic syndromes, which are not based on an adequate evidences. Moreover, the threshold of diagnostic criteria for many mental disorders has been lowered, with the consequence that the boundaries between "normality" and "pathology" is not so clear. In this paper, we will: 1) report the historical development of the DSM from the publication of its first edition; 2) describe the main changes introduced in the DSM-5; 3) discuss critical elements in the DSM-5. The current debate regarding the validity of diagnostic manuals and its criteria is threatening the psychiatric discipline, but a possible solution should be represented by the integration of diagnostic criteria with the in-depth description of patient's psychopathological experiences.
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