A new conceptual paradigm from genetics and psychobiology for the science of mental health

C. Robert Cloninger

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    106 Scopus citations

    Abstract

    Objective: The assumptions and goals underlying current systems of classification are critically examined. Method: Current systems of classification are based on assumptions that health can be adequately defined as the absence of disorders and that psychiatric disorders are discrete disease entities that can be categorically defined. These assumptions appear to be inconsistent with available knowledge of the psychobiology, genetics, development and evolution of thoughts, emotions, and behaviour. Results: An alternative psychobiologically based paradigm is described based on the model that mental health and its disorders are emergent properties of complex interactions among multidimensional neuroadaptive systems. Conclusions: This permits an explicit definition of optimum mental health and a descriptive system that is more effective for professionals, individuals, and society in understanding and achieving increased adaptive fitness.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)174-186
    Number of pages13
    JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry
    Volume33
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Apr 1999

    Keywords

    • Classifications
    • Complex systems
    • Mental health

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