Philosophy:Chinese Classification of Mental Disorders

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The Chinese Classification of Mental Disorders (CCMD; Chinese: 中国精神疾病分类方案与诊断标准), published by the Chinese Society of Psychiatry (CSP), is a clinical guide used in China for the diagnosis of mental disorders. It is currently on a third version, the CCMD-3, written in Chinese and English. It is intentionally similar in structure and categorisation to the ICD and DSM, the two most well-known diagnostic manuals, though includes some variations on their main diagnoses and around 40 culturally related diagnoses.


The first published Chinese psychiatric classificatory scheme appeared in 1979. A revised classification system, the CCMD-1, was made available in 1981 and further modified in 1984 (CCMD-2-R). The CCMD-3 was published in 2001.

Many Chinese psychiatrists believed the CCMD had special advantages over other manuals, such as simplicity, stability, the inclusion of culture-distinctive categories, and the exclusion of certain Western diagnostic categories. The Chinese translation of the ICD-10 was seen as linguistically complicated, containing very long sentences and awkward terms and syntax (Lee, 2001).

Diagnostic categories

The diagnosis of depression is included in the CCMD, with many similar criteria to the ICD or DSM, with the core having been translated as 'low spirits'. However, Neurasthenia is a more central diagnosis. Although also found in the ICD, its diagnosis takes a particular form in China, called 'shenjing shuairuo', which emphasizes somatic (bodily) complaints as well as fatigue or depressed feelings. Neurasthenia is a less stigmatizing diagnosis than depression in China, being conceptually distinct from psychiatric labels, and is said to fit well with a tendency to express emotional issues in somatic terms. The concept of neurasthenia as a nervous system disorder is also said to fit well with the traditional Chinese epistemology of disease causation on the basis of disharmony of vital organs and imbalance of qi.

The diagnosis of schizophrenia is included in the CCMD. It is applied quite readily and broadly in Chinese psychiatry.

Some of the wordings of the diagnosis are different, for example rather than borderline personality disorder as in the DSM, or emotionally unstable personality disorder (borderline type) as in the ICD, the CCMD has impulsive personality disorder.

Diagnoses that are more specific to Chinese or Asian culture, though they may also be outlined in the ICD (or DSM glossary section), include:

  • Koro or Genital retraction syndrome: excessive fear of the genitals (and also breasts in women) shrinking or drawing back into the body.
  • Zou huo ru mo (走火入魔) or qigong deviation (氣功偏差): perception of uncontrolled flow of qi in the body.
  • Mental disorders due to superstition or witchcraft.
  • Travelling psychosis

The CCMD-3 lists several "disorders of sexual preference" including ego-dystonic homosexuality, but does not recognize pedophilia.[1]


Main page: Medicine:Koro

Koro or Genital retraction syndrome is a culture-specific syndrome from Southeast Asia in which the patient has an overpowering belief that the genitalia (or nipples in females) is shrinking and will shortly disappear. In China, it is known as shuk yang, shook yong, and suo yang (simplified Chinese: 缩阳; traditional Chinese: 縮陽). This has been associated with cultures placing a heavy emphasis on balance, or on fertility and reproduction.

Zou huo ru mo

Zou huo ru mo (走火入魔) or "qigong deviation" (氣功偏差) is a mental condition characterized by the perception that there is uncontrolled flow of qi in the body. Other complaints include localized pains, headache, insomnia, and uncontrolled spontaneous movements.[2][3][4]

See also


  1. Janssen, Diederik F. (2014). ""Paraphilia": Acultural or Anti-Anthropological?". Sexual Offender Treatment 9 (2). 
  2. Chen, Nancy N. (2003). "Chapter 4. Qiqong Deviation or Psychosis". Breathing spaces: qigong, psychiatry, and healing in China. Columbia University Press. pp. 77–107. ISBN 0-231-12804-5.,%20psychiatry,%20and%20healing%20in%20China.%20Columbia%20University%20Press&f=false. 
  3. Palmer, David A. (2007). "Chapter 6. Controversy and Crisis". Qigong fever: body, science, and utopia in China. Columbia University Press. pp. 158–170. ISBN 0-231-14066-5. 
  4. Ownby, David (2008). Falun Gong and the future of China. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 181–186. ISBN 978-0-19-532905-6. 

External links