American psychiatry has been evolving over the past 20 years from a basically philosophical discipline with few ties to academic medicine into a scientifically based medical specialty. The field is complex and must cope with the basic issue of what constitutes a diagnosis as well as highly technical issues such as the localization of a specific neurochemical in a specific part of the brain. This volume lucidly highlights this complexity in relation to the psychoses, a concept cutting across many psychiatric conditions.
The book is divided into five sections, all of which concern efforts to establish the validity and reliability of the concept of psychosis. Data from such diverse disciplines as electrophysiology, psychopharmacology, neurochemistry, and genetics are presented alone and in combinations in the attempt to find the common elements, if any, linking the psychoses.
The 27 authors who contributed to this volume are aware of the need to delineate