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April 1972

Developmental Arrest and Regression: A Reappraisal of the Dementia Praecox Concept

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, Tufts University School of Medicine, and the Boston State Hospital, Boston.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1972;26(4):321-325. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1972.01750220031006

Kraepelin's formulation of dementia praecox is reviewed, with the irrelevant and misleading ontological conception of disease, dissected away, to restore his fruitful emphasis on a characteristic tendency toward developmental arrest and regression that produces the picture of deterioration, ie, "dementia." Bleuler's valuable contributions of a biographic approach and wide nosological expansion to include virtually all the functional psychoses are considered. His attempt to apply a psychoanalytic interpretation based principally on symptom analysis and associationism, in the schizophrenia concept, is rejected as premature. A psychoanalytic, characteriological approach along developmental lines that can be integrated with Kraepelin's original formulation is now possible in view of advances in psychoanalytic observation and theory over the past 60 years.

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