Psychotic Continuum or Distinct Entities: Perspectives from Psychopathology

  • Ch. Mundt


The pursuit of clear-cut and theoretically convincing classifications of the idiopathic psychoses by means of operationalized psychopathology was instigated 30 years ago in order to carry out epidemiological studies, studies of the long-term-course, and studies of treatment efficacy. Today, the revitalized genetics need sound categorical classification. However, one has to bear in mind that this is but one reason for typing psychiatric patients. A psychotherapist who wants to address coping behavior, or avoidance of precipitating life events, or training methods for deficits will have quite different diagnostic demands; again other aspects of typing may serve the pharmacologist, such as the Kielholz design, which in the meantime is questioned. Thus, the following considerations will leave aside pragmatic aspects of classification, e.g., for treatment, but instead refer to classical nosological research, the principles of which were outlined by Kraepelin (1903) and, in the English scientific world, by Cullen in 1803 (see Berrios and Beer 1992) as follows:

Disease entities are determined by identical symptoms, course, etiology, and pathomorphology. The research process is meant to follow a constant approximation of this ideal. Hence, outlining perspectives from a mere psycho- pathological point of view is a difficult task, since psychopathological validation of a nosological concept usually implies external validation with course, outcome, biological parameters, genetics, and personality and will probably result in outlining a type of mental disorganization, perhaps inherent to its structure, rather than producing stringent mental concomitants of particular biological disturbances.


Negative Symptom Personality Disorder Distinct Entity Borderline Personality Disorder Bipolar Affective Disorder 
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

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ch. Mundt
    • 1
  1. 1.Psychiatrische KlinikUniversitat HeidelbergHeidelbergGermany

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