Psychiatric and psychological practice and research is critically dependent on diagnosis. Yet the nature of psychiatric diagnosis and the rules by which disorders should be created and organized have been highly controversial for over 100 years. Unlike simple medical disorders (like infectious diseases), psychiatric disorders cannot be traced to one simple etiologic agent.
The last two generations have seen major conceptual shifts in the approach to diagnosis with the rise of operationalized criteria and an emphasis on a descriptive rather than etiological approach to diagnosis. The interest in psychiatric diagnoses is particularly heightened now because both of the major psychiatric classifications in the world - DSM and ICD - are now undergoing major revisions. What makes psychiatric nosology so interesting is that it sits at the intersection of philosophy,
empirical psychiatric/psychological research, measurement theory, historical tradition and policy. This makes the field fertile for a conceptual analysis.
This book brings together established experts in the wide range of disciplines that have an interest in psychiatric nosology. The contributors include philosophers, psychologists, psychiatrists, historians and representatives of the efforts of DSM-III, DSM-IV and DSM-V. Some of the questions addressed include i) what is the nature of psychiatric illness? Can it be clearly defined and if so how? ii) What is the impact of facts versus values in psychiatric classification? iii) How have concepts
of psychiatric diagnosis changed over time? iv) How can we best conceptualize the central idea of diagnostic validity? And v) Can psychiatric classification be a cumulative enterprise seeking improvements at each iteration of the diagnostic manual? Each individual chapter is introduced by the editors
and is followed by a commentary, resulting in a dynamic discussion about the nature of psychiatric disorders.
This book will be valuable for psychiatrists, psychologists and other mental health trainees and professionals with an interest in the questions and problems of psychiatric diagnosis, as well as philosophers and philosophy students interested in the problems posed by psychiatry, particularly those working in the philosophy of science.
Psychiatry has long struggled with the nature of its diagnoses. The problems raised by questions about the nature of psychiatric illness are particularly fascinating because they sit at the intersection of philosophy, empirical psychiatric/psychological research, measurement theory, historical tradition and policy. In being the only medical specialty that diagnoses and treats mental illness, psychiatry has been subject to major changes in the last 150 years.
This book explores the forces that have shaped these changes and especially how substantial "internal" advances in our knowledge of the nature and causes of psychiatric illness have interacted with a plethora of external forces that have impacted on the psychiatric profession. It includes contributions from philosophers of science with an interest in psychiatry, psychiatrists and psychologists with expertise in the history of their field and historians of psychiatry. Each chapter is
accompanied by an introduction and a commentary.
The result is a dynamic discussion about the nature of psychiatric disorders, and a book that is compelling reading for those in the field of mental health, history of science and medicine, and philosophy.