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Reply (Thomas A. Ban)

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Thank you for your encouraging comments on the “Preface” of “Toward Personalized Treatment of Depression,” a monograph still in preparation, in which the need for deconstructing the consensus-based diagnostic concept of “major depression” is addressed. As you rightly noted, my “Preface” is focused on “phenomenological psychopathology,” a research method of psychiatry developed in Europe in the second and third decades of the 20th century that separates “abnormal psychology” from “mental pathology” and distinguishes between diagnostic concepts (and sub-forms within these diagnostic concepts), on basis of “abnormal forms of experience” instead of behavioral measures and social performance. Employment of “phenomenological psychopathology” should yield diagnostic concepts closer to “prototype-based” diagnoses of “depression“ than current “consensus-based” diagnoses. It might also yield pharmacologically sufficiently homogeneous populations for neuropsychopharmacological research in depression. But, even if that would not be the case, it would facilitate a more discriminate use of “antidepressants” by restricting the depressive population to those with “abnormal forms of experience,” and by separating within “major depression” subpopulations with different “abnormal forms of experience.”

Thomas A. Ban
August 22, 2013