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The Chinese Classification of Mental Disorders (CCMD), published by the Chinese Society of Psychiatry (CSP), is a clinical guide used in China for the diagnosis of mental disorders. It is currently on a third version, the CCMD-3, written in Chinese and English. It is intentionally similar in structure and categorisation to the ICD and DSM, the two most well-known diagnostic manuals, though includes some variations on their main diagnoses and around 40 culturally-related diagnoses.


The first published Chinese psychiatric classificatory scheme appeared in 1979. A revised classification system, the CCMD-1, was made available in 1981 and further modified in 1984 (CCMD-2-R). The CCMD-3 was published in 2001.

Many Chinese psychiatrists believed the CCMD had special advantages over other manuals, such as simplicity, stability, the inclusion of culture-distinctive categories, and the exclusion of certain Western diagnostic categories. The Chinese translation of the ICD-10 was seen as linguistically complicated, containing very long sentences and awkward terms and syntax.

Diagnostic categories

The diagnosis of depression is included in the CCMD, with many similar criteria to the ICD or DSM, with the core having been translated as 'low spirits'. However, Neurasthenia is a more central diagnosis. Although also found in the ICD, its diagnosis takes a particular form in China, called 'shenjing shuairuo', which emphasizes somatic (bodily) complaints as well as fatigue or depressed feelings. Neurasthenia is a less stigmatizing diagnosis than depression in China, being conceptually distinct from psychiatric labels, and is said to fit well with a tendency to express emotional issues in somatic terms. The concept of neurasthenia as a nervous system disorder is also said to fit well with the traditional Chinese epistemology of disease causation on the basis of disharmony of vital organs and imbalance of qi.

The diagnosis of Schizophrenia is included in the CCMD. It is applied quite readily and broadly in Chinese psychiatry.

Diagnoses that are more specific to Chinese or Asian culture, though they may also be diagnosed or mentioned in the ICD (or DSM glossary section), include:

  • Mental disorder due to Qigong. Qigong is a Chinese method of meditation/posture/exercise. It has been linked in Chinese psychiatry to psychosis.
  • Koro - excessive fear in men of the penis shrinking or drawing back in to the body. This has been associated with cultures placing a heavy emphasis on balance, or on fertility and reproduction.
  • Mental disorders due to superstition or witchcraft.
  • Travelling psychosis

The CCMD-3 retains a category of 'ego-dystonic homosexuality'.

See also


  • Chen, YF. (2002) Chinese classification of mental disorders (CCMD-3): towards integration in international classification. Psychopathology. Mar-Jun;35(2-3):171-5
  • Lee, S. (2001). From diversity to unity. The classification of mental disorders in 21st-century China. Psychiatr Clin North Am. Sep;24(3):421-31.
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