A Catalog Of Mental Disorders

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A Catalog of Mental Disorders Characterized in Whole or Part by Unreality
Jonathan MacFarlane
Georgia Gwinnett College Introduction Many—event most—mental disorders are diagnosed by identifying clusters of symptoms that cannot be detected by science. That is, they do not show up in a chemical test or under a microscope. There are medical tests that can be run to detect cancer, AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease; but there is no medical test for detecting depression. Within these abstract symptoms, some are more abstract than others, in that they rely on a patient conveying information that paints a picture of a symptom, rather than something that is readily observable by a third party. For example, a fear reaction is detectable due to physiological symptomatic accompaniments (sweating, trembling, etc.), but feeling unusually sad is not. Further complicating this issue is that quite a few disorders are differentiated in only (relatively) minor ways. For example, there are very few diagnostic criteria differences between post-traumatic stress disorder and acute stress disorder, or between schizoaffective, delusional, schizophreniform, and schizophrenia disorders. This catalog attempts to sort and categorize mental disorders by abstract symptom, within the realm of disorders that feature, as a minor or major component, some form of break with reality. All of the disorders listed are diagnosable (at least in part) by hallucinations, delusions, and/or beliefs not anchored in
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