In psychiatry there is a traditional categorical conception stating that several disorders like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder have distinct etiologies. On the other hand, dimensional approach claims that these entities are actually the same disorder reflecting different clinical aspects of same mental disorder in the course of time. ICD and DSM classifications are based on separate categories of different mental disorders. Howewer, it is quite difficult to consider a mental disorder as a discrete entity that has absolute boundaries from other disorders. There are patients manifesting symptoms of two or more categories but do not fulfill all diagnostic criteria for any mental disorder. Dimensional approach handles the psychopathology as a continuing process and establish the patients to the different ongoing points. According to this view, in fact, multiple diagnosis reflect dimensions of the same disease.
Dimensional approach, categorical view, continuum of psychosis