Psychiatry Investig.  2019 Sep;16(9):636-644. 10.30773/pi.2019.09.07.

Diagnostic Issues of Depressive Disorders from Kraepelinian Dualism to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Inje University Haeundae Paik Hospital, Busan, Republic of Korea.
  • 2Department of Psychiatry, Korea University Ansan Hospital, Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea.


Because the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition (DSM-IV) was mainly influenced by the neo-Kraepelinian approach, its categorical approach to defining mental disorders has been criticized from the viewpoint of etiological neutrality. In the context of bridging the gap between "presumed etiologies-based symptomatology" and "identifiable pathophysiological etiologies," the content in 5th edition, the DSM-5, has been revised to incorporate a combination of categorical and dimensional approaches. The most remarkable change of note regarding the diagnostic classification of depressive disorders in the DSM-5 is the splitting of mood disorders into bipolar disorders and depressive disorders, which is in accordance with the deconstruction of the Kraepelinian dualism for psychoses. The transdiagnostic specifiers "with mixed features,""with psychotic features," and "with anxious distress" are introduced to describe the relationships of depressive disorders with bipolar disorders, schizophrenia, and generalized anxiety disorder, respectively, in a dimensional manner. The lowering of the diagnostic threshold for major depressive disorder (MDD) may be caused by the addition of "hopelessness" to the subjective descriptors of depressive mood and the elimination of "bereavement exclusion" from the definition of MDD. Since the heterogeneity of MDD is equivalent to the Wittgensteinian "games" analogy, the different types of MDD are related not by a single essential feature but rather by "family resemblance." Network analyses of MDD symptoms may therefore need further review to elucidate the connections among interrelated symptoms and other clinical elements.


Major depressive disorder; Categorical approach; Dimensional approach; Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders; Network analysis

MeSH Terms

Anxiety Disorders
Bipolar Disorder
Depressive Disorder*
Depressive Disorder, Major
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders*
Mental Disorders
Mood Disorders
Population Characteristics
Psychotic Disorders
Subject Headings
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