Specifier (psychology)

Specifiers are extensions to a diagnosis to further clarify a disorder or illness.[1] They allow for a more specific diagnosis. They are used extensively in the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) primarily in the diagnosis of mood disorders. Specifiers are not mutually exclusive and more than one specifier may be applied on a patient.[2]

Types of specifierEdit

In bipolar disorder, specifiers describe the nature of a current episode, such as the levels of anxiety, melancholia, and psychosis, and whether moods are congruent with behavior or incongruent.[3] They also describe the ongoing nature of recurrent episodes, when they began, how often they occur, and the pattern of re-occurrence. A postpartum onset specifier can be applied in major depressive disorder or bipolar disorder if the onset is within four weeks after childbirth.[4]


  1. ^ Purse 2017
  2. ^ American Psychiatric Association 2013
  3. ^ "What Are Specifiers in Bipolar Disorder?". Very Well. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  4. ^ "Specifiers for Mood Disorders". European Medical Alliance. Retrieved 16 January 2018.