Chapter 9. Psychiatric Diagnosis and Classification in Primary Care

  1. Mario Maj4,
  2. Wolfgang Gaebel5,
  3. Juan José López-Ibor6 and
  4. Norman Sartorius7
  1. David Goldberg1,
  2. Greg Simon2 and
  3. Gavin Andrews3

Published Online: 24 APR 2002

DOI: 10.1002/047084647X.ch9

Psychiatric Diagnosis and Classification

Psychiatric Diagnosis and Classification

How to Cite

Goldberg, D., Simon, G. and Andrews, G. (2002) Psychiatric Diagnosis and Classification in Primary Care, in Psychiatric Diagnosis and Classification (eds M. Maj, W. Gaebel, J. J. López-Ibor and N. Sartorius), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/047084647X.ch9

Editor Information

  1. 4

    University of Naples, Italy

  2. 5

    University of Düsseldorf, Germany

  3. 6

    Complutense University of Madrid, Spain

  4. 7

    University of Geneva, Switzerland

Author Information

  1. 1

    Institute of Psychiatry, King's College, London, UK

  2. 2

    Center for Health Studies, Group Health Cooperative, 1730 Minor Ave. #1600, Seattle, WA 98101–1448, USA

  3. 3

    School of Psychiatry, University of New South Wales at St. Vincent's Hospital, 299 Forbes Street, Darlinghurst, NSW 2010, Australia

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 24 APR 2002
  2. Published Print: 15 APR 2002

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780471496816

Online ISBN: 9780470846476



  • ICD10-PHC;
  • DSM-4;
  • common mental disorders;
  • ICD-10;
  • depression;
  • anxiety;
  • disability;
  • elderly mental disorders;
  • childhood mental disorders;
  • somatisation


The main approaches to the classification of mental disorders put forward by GPs are described, and contrasted with those suggested by psychiatrists, and adapted to the conditions of primary care. Some differences exist between the kinds of disorder seen in the two settings, especially the comorbidity with physical illness in primary care. Classifications should be derived from existing nosologies by a process of condensation and simplification, although the psychiatrist's concept of “somatoform disorder” is a far cry from the GP's necessary concept of “unexplained somatic symptoms”. Special problems of classification at each end of the life cycle are described, and the importance of assessing the disability associated with mental disorders. The form and structure of common mental disorders in primary care does not vary widely across countries or cultures, although inevitably there are local variations in prevalence. The sheer size of the problem in primary care necessitates special training not just for medical officers but also for all other primary care staff.