The authors of this excellent review article discuss the need for a biological approach to psychiatry based on “’neurocognitive endophenotypes’, whereby changes in behavioural or cognitive processes are associated with discrete deficits in defined neural systems”. This contrasts with DSM-IV diagnostic criteria which have been criticized for lacking a biological footing. Using impulsivity and compulsivity as examples, they discuss commonalities and co-morbidities across disorders. Parallels between substance abuse, OCD and compulsive eating disorders as well as impulsivity in ADHD are some examples discussed. The authors argue that this approach has important implications for future classification in psychiatry.

Robbins TW et al: Neurocognitive endophenotypes of impulsivity and compulsivity: towards dimensional psychiatry. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 16(1): 81-91 (2012).

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