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, 1 (3), 193-210

The Comparative Psychopathology of Affective Disorders in Animals and Humans

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The Comparative Psychopathology of Affective Disorders in Animals and Humans

D Healy. J Psychopharmacol.

Abstract

Reviews of animal models of affective disorders commonly concentrate on the behavioural features thereof, the supposed neurochemical substrates, the mode of production and the response to treatment of the state in question but ignore questions of psycho pathology. An attempt is made to deal critically with the psychopathology of human and animal affective disorders in the light of current operational criteria for the diagnosis of major depressive disorders. It is argued thatthe psychopathological tradition stemming from Jaspers may be more appropriate to a consideration of animal models of affective disorders than the psychopathological positions implicit in psychoanalysis, behaviourism or current cognitive psychologies and in addition more suited to meet these criteria. The adoption of such a perspective results in a shift of emphasis from abnormalities of psychological content to demonstrable neuropsychological deficits and a definition of affective disorders, whether in animals or humans, as psychosomatic illnesses, possibly involving a pathology of circadian rhythmicity. This perspective also suggests that animal models may be useful in the devel opment of more refined diagnostic criteria for affective disorders in humans.

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