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Dementia praecox a "premature dementia" or "precocious madness" is a disused psychiatric diagnosis that originally designated a chronic, deteriorating psychotic disorder characterized by rapid cognitive disintegration, usually beginning in the late teens or early adulthood. Over the years, the term "dementia praecox" was gradually replaced by " schizophrenia ", which remains in current diagnostic use. The term "dementia praecox" was first used in by Arnold Pick — , a professor of psychiatry at Charles University in Prague. German psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin — popularised it in his first detailed textbook descriptions of a condition that eventually became a different disease concept and relabeled as schizophrenia. This division, commonly referred to as the Kraepelinian dichotomy , had a fundamental impact on twentieth-century psychiatry, though it has also been questioned. The primary disturbance in dementia praecox was seen to be a disruption in cognitive or mental functioning in attention, memory, and goal-directed behaviour. Kraepelin contrasted this with manic-depressive psychosis, now termed bipolar disorder , and also with other forms of mood disorder , including major depressive disorder.
Dementia Praecox and Paraphrenia. Emil Kraepelin. The German psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin is justly called "the father of modern psychiatry. He was also joint discoverer of Alzheimer's disease--which he named after his collaborator, Dr Alois Alzheimer. Kraepelin presented these and other discoveries in successive editions of his Psychiatrie: Ein Lehrbuch definitive 8th edition also now available from Thoemmes Press. Much of this gigantic textbook can only be read in the original German; but parts of it were translated into English, and they had a very profound influence on the development of world psychiatry for the rest of the twentieth century.