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March 1965

Syndromes of Psychosis.

Author Affiliations

By Maurice Lorr, C. James Klett, and Douglas M. McNair. Price, $10. Pp 286. Pergamon Press Book, The Macmillan Company, 60 Fifth Ave, New York 10011, 1963.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1965;12(3):326-327. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1965.01720330100017

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The variety of studies reported in this monograph originated with the purpose of assessing the effects of drugs on hospitalized psychotics. Later the goal was vastly enlarged to establishing an objective taxonomy for the so-called behavior disorders through the isolation of major psychotic syndromes and types. The authors present evidence for ten statistically derived psychiatric syndromes, six psychotic types or classes, and two theoretical models for the organization of the syndromes.

The guiding presupposition underlying this work is that an objective taxonomy and nomenclature is an important, if not necessary, first step for the study of the behavior disorders. American psychiatry, the authors claim, takes the attitude that formal diagnosis is "sterile, undynamic and unimportant." But paradoxically, psychiatric diagnoses are still widely used for administrative, therapeutic, and research purposes.

The present nomenclature is unreliable, lacks the power to classify a large number of cases, lacks predictive utility, and

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