This monograph on manic-depressive illness is a thorough and carefully written study of one of the major and least understood psychiatric syndromes. It covers in depth its epidemiology, clinical characteristics, and genetic aspects. Its orientation is basically a nosologic and descriptive, an approach which the authors believe is sorely needed in psychiatric research.
"Over many years there has been a dialogue in psychiatry concerning the necessity and usefulness of diagnosis. One viewpoint suggests that the important variables in therapy are the intrapsychic and interpersonal conflicts and therefore diagnosis is just "pigeonholing people," with little usefulness and possibly great harm. Another point of view holds that a rigorous diagnosis enables one to make a meaningful prognosis of a patient's future by knowledge of the behavior of other persons with similar complaints. Being aware of the natural history of a disorder is in psychiatry, as in the rest of medicine, a central