Dementia Praecox

Dementia praecox (a "premature dementia" or "precocious madness") refers to a chronic, deteriorating psychotic disorder characterized by rapid cognitive disintegration, usually beginning in the late teens or early adulthood. It is a term first used in 1891 in this Latin form by Arnold Pick (1851–1924), a professor of psychiatry at the German branch of Charles University in Prague. His brief clinical report described the case of a person with a psychotic disorder resembling hebephrenia (see below). It was popularized by German psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin (1856–1926) in 1893, 1896 and 1899 in his first detailed textbook descriptions of a condition that would eventually be reframed into a substantially different disease concept and relabeled as schizophrenia. Kraepelin, regarding the major psychoses as naturally occurring disease entities, reduced the complex psychiatric taxonomies of the nineteenth century by dividing them into two classes: manic depressive psychosis or dementia praecox. This division is commonly referred to as the Kraepelinian dichotomy and it has had a significant and fundamental impact on twentieth-century psychiatry, though has also been questioned.

The primary disturbance in dementia praecox was said to be not one of mood, but of thinking or cognition. Cognitive disintegration refers to a disruption in cognitive or mental functioning such as in attention, memory, and goal-directed behavior. Kraepelin contrasted this with manic-depressive psychosis, in which he included not just what would be termed bipolar disorder today but also other forms of mood disorder, including major depressive disorder. However, Kraepelin himself noted cases in between and eventually accepted that it was not possible to distinguish his categories on the basis of cross-sectional symptoms. Indeed, a mixed diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder has also developed.

From the outset, dementia praecox was viewed by Kraepelin as a progressively deteriorating disease from which no one recovered. The three terms that Kraepelin used to refer to the end state of the disease were "Verblödung" (deterioration), Schwachsinn (mental weakness) or Defekt (defect). Although "dementia" is part of the name of the disease, Kraepelin did not intend it to be similar to senile dementia and rarely used this term to refer to the end state of the disease. However, by 1913, and more explicitly by 1920, Kraepelin admitted that although there seemed to be a residual cognitive defect in most cases, the prognosis was not as uniformly dire as he had stated in the 1890s. Still, he regarded it as a specific disease concept that implied incurable, inexplicable madness.

Read more about Dementia PraecoxKraepelin's Influence On The Next Century, From Dementia Praecox To Schizophrenia, Diagnostic Manuals, Conclusions

Other articles related to "dementia praecox, dementia":

Timeline Of Psychiatry - Psychiatry in The 19th Century
... (1860) coined the term "dementia praecox" (demence precoce) for patients suffering from "stupor" (melancholia). 1893 German psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin clinically defined "dementia praecox", later reformulated as Schizophrenia ... The Kraepelinian dichotomy between affective psychosis and dementia praecox (schizophrenia) was introduced in the 6th edition of Emil Kraepelin's famous Lehrbuch ...
Dementia Praecox - Conclusions
... As a direct result of the effort to construct Research Diagnostic Criteria (RDC) in the 1970s that were independent of any clinical diagnostic manual, Kraepelin's idea that categories of mental disorder should reflect discrete and specific disease entities with a biological basis began to return to prominence ... Vague dimensional approaches based on symptoms—so highly favored by the Meyerians and psychoanalysts—were overthrown ...
Glossary Of Psychiatry - List of Terms - D - Dementia Praecox
... Psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin was the first to draw a distinction between what he termed dementia praecox ("premature dementia") and other psychotic illnesses ... In 1911, dementia praecox was renamed schizophrenia by psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler, who found Kraepelin's term to be misleading, as the disorder is not a form of dementia, premature or otherwise ...
Adolf Meyer (psychiatrist) - Works
... Meyer's paper "The Nature and Conception of Dementia Praecox," originally published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, was one of three papers collected in Dementia Praecox a Monograph (B ... This was the first book authored by Americans on dementia praecox, a mental disease/disorder/reaction that would also be referred to more commonly as schizophrenia by the late 1920s ... All three papers were originally read at a symposium on dementia praecox during the annual meeting of the American Neurological Association in 1910 ...