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Eugen Bleuler 

Eugen Bleuler
Chapter:
Eugen Bleuler
Author(s):

Edward Shorter

and Max Fink

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780190881191.003.0005
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date: 05 March 2021

Eugen Bleuler, professor of psychiatry in Zurich, renamed Kraepelin’s dementia praecox as “schizophrenia” in 1908. He retained catatonia as a subtype. Bleuler’s dementia praecox was a much milder and broader condition than the downhill course toward dementia that Kraepelin had described: it could strike at any moment in life, not just in youth, and often ended in partial recovery. Ultimately, Kraepelin’s and Bleuler’s efforts gave rise to an immense “schizophrenia” literature, an industry that continues today, an outpouring that can be compared only to the enormous “hysteria” industry that existed before DSM-III abolished the diagnosis in 1980. The effect is striking: one moment the profession believes implicitly in a disease so huge as to dominate the literature; the next moment the disease no longer exists.

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