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The Utility of Research Domain Criteria in Diagnosis and Management of Dual Disorders: A Mini-Review

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The Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) initiative has been considered a comprehensive alternative classification framework for understanding neuropsychiatric ailments, as opposed to the longstanding, traditional DSM framework. Where the DSM categorizes neuropsychiatric disorders as each being distinct and diagnostically defined by the presence of specified symptoms, RDoC provides a multidimensional conceptualization of psychiatric disorders with neurobiological roots. By taking a multidimensional approach, RDoC overcomes two major constraints of the DSM framework: that is, that the DSM is categorical in its approach to psychiatric disorders to the point of understating the intersectionality between concomitant disorders, and that the DSM focuses mainly on clinical features. RDoC seems to better account for the intersection between dual disorders and considers a range of factors, from the more microscopic (e.g., genetics or molecular functions) to the more macroscopic (e.g., environmental influences). The multidimensional approach of RDoC is particularly appealing in the context of dual disorders. Dual disorders refers to a concurrent psychiatric disorder with an addiction disorder. RDoC accounts for the fact that there is often overlap in symptoms across and bidirectional influence between various disorders. However, to date, there is limited research into the clinical utility of RDoC, and less so in the context of the clinical management of dual disorders. In this Mini-Review, we discuss how RDoC differs from the DSM, what outcomes have been reported in utilizing RDoC clinically, the utility of RDoC for the diagnosis, management, and monitoring of psychopathology, and the limitations of RDoC as well as avenues for future research.
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