[Skip to Navigation]
May 1956

An Objective Test Which Differentiates Between neurotic and Psychotic Depression

Author Affiliations

Montreal, Canada

From the Allan Memorial Institute of Psychiatry and McGill University.

AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1956;75(5):461-471. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1956.02330230011001

Standard psychiatric nomenclature differentiates several categories of depressive syndromes, such as manic-depressive, involutional, and reactive depression.* One of the main concepts underlying this classification is that neurotic and psychotic depressions are different. This concept is not universally accepted, and it has been criticized by several workers.† Grounds for criticism have included the overlapping of symptomatology, the unreliability of supposedly specific clinical differentiating features, and the almost equal incidence of suicidal risk in both types. Others consider the differentiation between neurotic and psychotic depression to be valid and useful.5 It is probably true to state that, even though there are theoretical objections to the distinction, it is widely applied in current clinical practice. The advent of electroconvulsive therapy (E. C. T.) has increased its practical importance, since psychotic depresssion is considered a better indication for E. C. T. than neurotic depression.6

As the disagreement concerning the differentiation between neurotic

Add or change institution