The discussion of this paper will be on Kraepelin’s early development classifying system for mental disorders. The subjects will be the advantages, and the disadvantages of classifying mental disorders into types and maintaining such taxonomy for clinical reference. It will also describe the modern classification system and what current events are happening regarding this system. This paper will give a better understanding of how mental disorders were classified, and maintained from early times to modern day.
Classification of Mental Disorders In the early seventeenth century society was faced to deal with individuals whose thought processes, emotions, and behavior were deemed as deviant. With little knowledge of metal illnesses during that century, society’s only thought on why individuals behaved the way they did was because he or she were evil or possessed; thus the only way to deal with it was by torture, locked in cells, or put to death. It was not until many trials and errors with mental illness that in 1883 Emil Kraepelin wrote a textbook that was a classification scheme for illness, which went through nine editions, the last one appeared after his death (Goodwin, 2008, p. 07).
Through Kraepelin’s classification system he could identify thirteen categories of mental diseases in 1899 that ranged from mild with promising prognosis, to the more serious disorders. Kraepelin’s Early Development of a Classification System. Emil Kraepelin was a German psychiatrist who researched the connections between the brain biology and mental illness. He was the founder of psychopharmacology, which was the study of the effects of psychiatric drugs on the nervous system.
He studied medicine and experimental psychology in Leipzig, where he later adapted the technique of early psychological laborites that would study the effects of substances; such as alcohol, morphine, and coffee on the nervous system. Kraepelin’s most influential innovation was examining and recording mental illness in a large group of patients over many years in an asylum, in which he divided mental illness into two categories, manic-depressive psychosis and dementia praecox, which is called schizophrenia today (Hippius & Muller, 2008).
Advantages of Classifying Mental Disorders The advantages of classifying mental disorders during that century were to influence the development of psychiatry to an empirical field of science (Hippius & Muller, 2008), and to gain a better understanding of individuals impacted by mental disorders, and the proper treatment for them. These classifications are used today to help physicians and health care providers with patients to get to his or her underlining conditions of their mental illness and if any medication is rendered for treatment.
Another advantage of the classification system is to clarify the patient’s care for healthcare providers in order to accelerate his or her care more accurately. Disadvantages of Classifying Mental Disorders A few disadvantages of classifying mental disorders are if a new healthcare provider treating those with mental disorders solely relied on an old taxonomy to treat their patients, they would have inaccurate information to help that patient and could possible cause more harm than good (Borsboom, 2008).
The classification system only states what mental disorder a patient may have and how to treat it. It does not give many underlying reasons regarding why a patient has a certain mental disorder. Another disadvantage of the classification system is mental disorders can vary considerably with different cultures and countries, which can refer to different individuals and social problems (Henley, Ramsey, & Algozzine,2009).
Our Modern Classification System and Events Regarding this System Our modern classification system today is helping millions that suffer from mental disorder become more aware of it and providing treatment for those who seek it. A specific event today is the classification, or labeling in school-aged children, which has different controversy surrounding it. Even though it is intended for good, as in helping children with special education services, there is also the stigma that comes with being labeled with a mental disorder.
For instance a teachers expectations for children in their class can be linked to how well the child can perform in school. For instance students who have been diagnosed with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder are forcing the teachers to lower their academic and behavioral expectations in school (Henley, Ramsey, & Algozzine, 2009). This can have an adverse effect on a child’s education, whether he or she has a mental disorder or not. Conclusion The classification system has many advantages as well as disadvantages.
Today those classifications are used to diagnosis and treat all types of mental disorders, and they are on the forefront of research concerning these problems (Goodwin, 2008). This is due to the major contribution of Emil Kraepelin’s work and research. Society has come a long ways from when mental illness was sought as evil, to today where it is accepted, and there is help for those suffering. Society and professionals can only go forward from this point concerning mental disorders as a whole.
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