Feighner Diagnostic Criteria

   (also called "the St. Louis criteria") (1972).
   Motivated by a desire to identify real psychiatric illnesses rather than the vague impressions then fashionable in American psychiatry, in 1972 a team of researchers in the department of psychiatry of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis suggested that, in terms of stability over time, family history, and well-defined clinical features, there were a small number of natural disease entities (in fact, 15). In the mood area, the researchers accepted depression and mania as "primary" disorders, plus reactive depression as a "secondary" disorder. They listed specific operational criteria the patient would have to meet to qualify for the diagnosis, such as sad mood, in addition to five of a list of eight other symptoms; for example, sleep difficulty, recurrent thoughts of death, or suicide. Chief author of the landmark article in the Archives of General Psychiatry was John Feighner (1937–), who had been a resident in that department.
   Among the co-authors were the leaders of the St. Louis school responsible for the revival of biological thinking in American psychiatry, such as Eli Robins (1921–1995), Samuel B. Guze (1923–2000), Robert A. Woodruff, Jr., (1934–), George Winokur (1925–1996), and Rodrigo Muñoz (1939–).

Edward Shorter. 2014.

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