Philosophical Issues in Psychiatry II: Nosology

Philosophical Issues in Psychiatry II: Nosology

by Kenneth S. Kendler, Josef Parnas
     
 

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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

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Michael Joel Schrift, DO, MA (Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine)
Description: This enlightening book addresses one of the most important issues in psychiatry: the nature of psychiatric nosology. As is well known, the DSM-III and beyond was never designed to be a valid classification of psychiatric disorders, but rather a temporary classification scheme to establish reliability of putative diagnoses in order to be able to begin research on establishing validity. The diagnoses listed in the DSM-III, DSM-IIIR, DSM-IVTR, as well as the upcoming DSM-V have little or no validity. This book addresses the philosophical underpinnings of classification as it pertains to psychiatry. The book is derived from a conference held in Copenhagen, Denmark, in November 2010. Written and edited by internationally recognized figures in the field, this is a welcome addition to the psychiatric literature.
Purpose: The purpose is to address important questions: "What is the nature of psychiatric illness? Can it be clearly defined and, if so, how? What is the impact of fact versus values in psychiatric classification? How have concepts of psychiatric diagnosis changed over time?" These questions and more are discussed thoroughly in this book.
Audience: The targeted audience includes "psychiatrists, psychologists, and other mental health trainees and professionals," as well as philosophers and philosophy students interested in the philosophy of science.
Features: The book is designed to replicate the discussions from the original conference with each chapter containing an introduction by one of the editors and ending with comments from one of the other chapter authors or one of the editors. Part I focuses on the definition of psychiatric illness and rules for classification. Part II describes the historical development of modern psychiatric diagnoses, and part III addresses validity issues. Part IV uses major depression and schizophrenia as examples of determining when they become mental disorders. Part V discusses the future for psychiatric nosology. Each chapter contains relevant and timely citations of the scientific literature.
Assessment: This book addresses many fundamental issues regarding psychiatry and psychiatric diagnoses as well as the future of psychiatry. It is important reading for anyone in the field.
From the Publisher
"This book addresses many fundamental issues regarding psychiatry and psychiatric diagnoses as well as the future of psychiatry. It is important reading for anyone in the field." — Michael Joel Schrift, D.O., M.A., University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine, Doody's

"Those wanting a deep understanding of the tensions in psychiatric classification will gain much from this volume, an understanding that hopefully someone or some team will use to get psychiatric classification unstuck." — Journal of Clinical Psychiatry

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780199642205
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
05/23/2012
Pages:
360
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

The major focus of Kenneth's research is in the genetics of psychiatric and substance abuse disorders. Two major methodologies are used in this research. The first involves large population based twin samples. In these twins the aggregate role of genetic and environmental factors is addressed. The aim is to understand how these factors interact and correlate, and how, through development, the vulnerability to psychiatric illness and drug abuse is expressed. Samples have been taken from the Virginia Adult Twin Study of Psychiatric and Substance Use Disorders as well as Norway, Sweden and Holland. Kenneth's work has focused on a wide range of disorders including major depression, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, externalizing behaviors, alcoholism, and drug abuse. He has also worked towards understanding the genetic and environmental sources of comorbidity of psychiatric and substance use disorders.

Trained medical doctor always involved in philosophy of science, phenomenology, schizophrenia research and clinical work.

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