Why Depression Needs a New Definition

Posted on September 28, 2015

Photo: flickr

In 1952, the American Psychiatric Association tried to standardize the definitions of mental illnesses, including depression, by creating a taxonomy of mental illnesses.

Some scientists believe that the DSM-V definition is still too vague. As the psychiatrist Daniel Goldberg noted in the journal World Psychiatry in 2011, many of the DSM symptoms are opposites, which can make it difficult for researchers working to develop a more precise understanding of the condition.

Researchers have largely focused their attention on finding a one-size-fits-all treatment that doesn’t exist. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that by relying on describing the disorder, scientists are not able to achieve an in-depth understanding of it.

“We’re starting over with how we think about mental disorders,” says Cuthbert, a psychology professor at the University of Minnesota. “Our current diagnostic system is running out of steam for research.”

“Our current concept of depression is left over from times when we didn’t really understand it very much,” he added. “We know so much more about it now—physically, genetically, neurochemically—and we should be using that.”

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Source material from The Atlantic