Psychopathology in postmodern societies

P. Cianconi (1), I. Tarricone (2), A. Ventriglio (3), C. De Rosa (4), A. Fiorillo (5), T. Saito (6), D. Bhugra (7)

1 U.O.C. Regina Coeli Prison, Department of Mental Health RmA, Rome Italy; 2 Bologna Transcultural Psychosomatic Team, Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences, Alma Mater Studiorurm Bologna University, Bologna, Italy; 3 Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Foggia, Foggia, Italy; 4 Department of Psychiatry, University of Naples SUN, Naples, Italy; 5 Department of Psychiatry, University of Naples SUN, Naples, Italy; 6 Social Psychiatry and Mental Health Faculty of Medicine University of Tsukuba, Japan; 7 Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College, London, UK; World Psychiatric Association.



A growing body of evidence suggests that postmodern societies currently face a significant number of changes imprinted by evolution at a number of levels. These changes are resulting in increasing stress both at the population and individual levels, possibly leading to mental health problems. Many social variables are subject to rapid fluctuations which, in turn, affect changes in society leading to mental health consequences of the population. In this paper we review the available literature on social variables subject to rapid changes in postmodern societies with links to the DSM-5.


Search of papers until June 2015 was carried out using PubMed. We considered only on variables that can be identified in societal changes from modernity to postmodernity and that cause stress, mental distress and mental disorders.


Discomfort is present in situations where the subject experiences feelings of subjective malaise, beyond the presence of bio-medical symptoms. Mental disorders are strongly linked with situations such as technology, markets, economic forces, environmental crises, pollution, demographic crisis and cultures in the building process, including their manipulation.


The review confirms the psychogenic psychological problems and uneasiness connected to crises that post-modern society creates within communities and environments.The DSM-5 offers a potential explanation to the social variance related to psychopathology.

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