Contemporary Questions of General Psychopathology and the Clinical Picture of Mental Disorders


Mental Health Research Center, Moscow, Russia


The aim and task of general psychopathology is investigation of general regularities of mental disorders, the nature of typical psychopathological processes, as well as pathogenesis. K. Jaspers believed, that general psychopathology was an introduction to psychiatry, he also tried to draw a distinction between psychopathology and the clinical picture of mental disorders. At present it is apparent, that both psychopathology and the clinical picture of mental disorders have both theoretical and practical significance. The basis of general psychopathology: the syndrome, contains both psychopathological characteristics of the present condition, and information about the past and further development of the disease in its structure. The study of syndromes and their dynamics allow solving of problems of progression and regression, as well as substantiating of some aspects of pathogenesis.

 It should be emphasized, that identification of syndromes is extremely necessary for successful studies in psychopharmacology and the problems of biological psychiatry. Age-related factor is of special significance: the same psychopathological syndrome may look different in various age groups. Besides each age group is characterized by definite types of syndromes: in childhood they are fears and a trend towards pathologic fantasy generation; in adolescence they are body dysmorphic disorder and polymorphism of psychoses; in old age it is characteristic delusion of detriment. 

The question of association between the specificities of the syndrome and the degree and intensity of personality changes seems insufficiently studied. Recognition of syndromes equivalents is of special value, as well as the evaluation of deformation of symptom complexes, associated with various reasons. The problems of development of endogenous psychoses after exogenous provocations, and the possibility of development of endoform psychoses in a case of medical and inflectional illnesses are also very important.

The aims and tasks of clinical psychiatry are closely associated with the contemporary state and   successes of general psychopathology.  The solution of the problems as follows seem important: a) the study of pathokinesis, characteristic of the nosology; b) determination of prognostic value of separate syndromes, appearing during the course of illness; c) investigation of specificities of syndromes deformation depending on the preceding course of illness and the degree of intensity of personality changes, d) the investigation of personality changes, characteristic of nosological form and its separate variants, e) the study of the degree of reversibility of psychopathological syndromes under the influence of modern psychopharmacological medication.