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Nomenclature of Mental Diseases

  • A. R. Urquhart

I have ventured to suggest that we should now consider what we are going to do about the classification of mental disorders. Lately, the Royal College of Physicians of London decided to revise the Nomenclature of Diseases, and publish another edition. The President of this College is on the Committee; as is also Dr. Savage, our colleague in London, who has taken much interest in this question. I was somewhat surprised the other day when I asked for a copy of the Nomenclature of Diseases in the Royal Medical Society of London, to find that they did not have a copy in their library—a book which is supposed to guide the profession in the statistical registration of diseases. In 1896, for the third edition, an attempt was made to reform the nomenclature of mental diseases, under the direction of Dr. Hack Tuke and Dr. Savage. In its present state it is still unsatisfactory. The classification with which we have to deal is as follows:—First, there is “idiocy (cretinism), and then mania (acute or chronic), delirious, hysterical, puerperal, epileptic, traumatic, syphilitic, gouty, from either acute or chronic disease, alcoholic, plumbic, or other poisons.” Acute is an absurd word, because we specially want to mark the duration. Acute should be rendered Recent. Then there is “melancholia (acute or chronic), delirious, hypochondriac, climacteric, puerperal, epileptic, syphilitic, acute, other diseases.” Then there is “dementia (primary or secondary), senile, climacteric, puerperal, epileptic, traumatic, syphilitic, acute, other diseases.” Then there is “mental stupor, anergic, delusional.” Then there is “general paralysis.” That is not a mental disease. Lastly, there is “delusional insanity.

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The British Journal of Psychiatry
  • ISSN: -
  • EISSN: 2514-9946
  • URL: /core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry
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Nomenclature of Mental Diseases

  • A. R. Urquhart
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