Genetic Patterns as They Affect Psychiatric Diagnosis

  • George Winokur


The most efficient way to make a diagnosis is by the use of pathognomonic symptoms. These are few and far between in medicine and virtually non-existent in psychiatry. Pathognomonic signs do exist in medicine, e.g., the Kayser-Fleischer ring of hepatolenticular degeneration in Wilson’s disease, the Bence-Jones protein in multiple myeloma, or an elevated T-4 in thyrotoxicosis. There are, however, few unequivocal pathophysiologic findings in psychiatric illness. As a consequence, we are confronted with making a diagnosis on the basis of the clinical picture, the course of the illness, response to various treatments, and the familial background. The vast bulk of the data in psychiatry is concerned with the clinical picture and the course of the illness. Treatment is a relatively new diagnostic tool; although there is an active attempt to make diagnoses on the basis of responses to various kinds of therapy, this methodology is still in its infancy.


Affective Disorder Psychiatric Diagnosis Bipolar Patient Genetic Pattern Bipolar Affective Disorder 
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© Brunner/Mazel, Inc. 1977

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  • George Winokur

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