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Special problems for psychiatric classification 

Special problems for psychiatric classification
Special problems for psychiatric classification

John E. Cooper

and Norman Sartorius

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date: 21 November 2018

In this chapter there are comments upon a number of problems that are of particular importance in psychiatric classifications. There has been some agreement that social problems should be kept conceptually separate from mental and physical disease, but a satisfactory short definition of mental disease has proved elusive. In the background of this debate is the question of what is the basic responsibility of a modern scientifically trained doctor. Is it to just detect and treat physical illness, or does it include the relief of the whole illness experience of the patient and family? Kraupl Taylor and Fulford have argued strongly ‘for the latter. Compilers of modern classifications of mental disorders have avoided the debate about definitions of disease by using the conveniently imprecise concept of ‘disorder’. The definitions of this in ICD-10 and DSM-IV are similar, but there is an important difference that is easily overlooked, concerning the inclusion of interference with social functions.

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