Depression pp 13-40 | Cite as

Classification of Depressive Disorders

  • Alan F. Schatzberg


The recent advent of effective psychopharmacologic treatments for subtypes of depressive disorders has converted the classification of the depressions from an academic exercise to a pragmatic necessity for good patient care. Advances in the biology and treatment of depression (exemplified clearly in the remainder of this book) have enabled workers and practitioners to begin to solve those unanswered questions which had previously limited treatment efficacy. In fact, so amorphous was the state of knowledge of etiology and treatment that some workers such as the British psychiatrist Mapother argued in 1926 that classification was of little practical value:

It will be generally agreed that subdivision in virtue of details of the known (for example, of past course and present symptoms) serves little purpose unless the types discriminated are correlated with the differences in the unknown—for example in causation, prognosis, or treatment.1


Depressive Disorder Depressed Patient Affective Disorder Unipolar Depression Depressive Illness 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alan F. Schatzberg
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.McLean HospitalBelmontUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryHarvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA

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