Kraepelin and manic-depressive insanity: an historical perspective

Int Rev Psychiatry. 2005 Feb;17(1):49-52. doi: 10.1080/09540260500080534.


Since the time of the ancient Greeks, physicians have recognized a certain relatedness between the mental states of depression and mania. In the mid-Nineteenth century, French alienists proposed a 'double' or 'circular' illness consisting of alternating depressed and manic episodes and at the beginning of the twentieth century, Emil Kraepelin introduced the term 'manic-depressive insanity.' Kraepelin's broad clinical experience resulted in compelling descriptions of the symptoms of mood disorders that have arguably never been surpassed. The Kraepelinian nosology continues to provide a touchstone for modern classification systems of the mood disorders.

Publication types

  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Bipolar Disorder / history*
  • Bipolar Disorder / psychology*
  • History, 15th Century
  • History, 16th Century
  • History, 17th Century
  • History, 18th Century
  • History, 19th Century
  • Humans
  • Psychiatry / history*
  • Psychological Theory*