What do discrepancies between classification systems mean for AOD workers?

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In considering the key differences between classification systems, AOD workers should be mindful that the move towards a more dimensional approach of diagnosing mental health conditions emphasises the need to not only use clinical judgement and expertise, but to consider the whole person, with complex presenting issues. While there may be differences between the classification systems, these are often of a technical nature and do not represent huge departures from the diagnoses themselves. For example, there may be differences in which symptoms appear within a particular criterion for a disorder as opposed to another criterion within the disorder (i.e., whether symptom A belongs in criterion B or criterion C of a particular disorder; how many symptoms are required and over what period of time), but the core features of disorders nonetheless remain the same. Irrespective of diagnosis, clinical focus should stay on the person and their presenting symptoms, including their psychological, physical and sociodemographic needs (described in Chapter B3 and Chapter B5).

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