Research Topic

Historical Roots of Psychopathology

About this Research Topic

Psychopathology needs to be viewed as a set of theoretical constructs which can be altered over time and they thus require periodic calibration. Furthermore, the way in which we describe the mental symptoms must be adapted to the scientific needs of the age in which we live related, for instance, with the ...

Psychopathology needs to be viewed as a set of theoretical constructs which can be altered over time and they thus require periodic calibration. Furthermore, the way in which we describe the mental symptoms must be adapted to the scientific needs of the age in which we live related, for instance, with the detail of the data obtained by the auxiliary means of diagnosis and which are different from those observed in the 19th century.


Jaspers had already said with regard to the evolution of psychopathology: «general psychopathology is based on the continuity of the data obtained up to now, being guided by them and they may serve as the basis for new evidence - either in the sense of contradiction or construction and progress».


Tools like DSM and CID are very frequently used as glossaries and this is not the reason why they were devised. Furthermore, it is based on them that many students and clinicians come into contact with psychopathology. The standards of these classification systems are applied in such a way that clinicians very often think that they can’t decide to learn other conceptualizations of psychopathology.


The general stance of psychiatry and psychology nowadays has been critical towards the established habits with regard to psychopathology (for example, following the classifications of DSM and CID without questioning how they were drawn up) and it tends to go back into the history of the symptoms so as to reformulate the manner of approaching them.


The study of the history of psychopathology must be regarded as more than a historian’s pastime or a political analysis of the social aspects of psychiatry and psychology. It is a powerful calibration technique whereby the language used in mental health can be improved and prepared for more thorough quantification.


It would be important that scientific journals could encourage authors to publish papers that address the historical aspects of psychopathology. A critical view of current psychopathology could be improved by knowing its historical roots.


In this Research Topic we intend to include review articles which introduce some of the most important elements which are at the root of psychopathology as we know it today.


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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