Quis furor . . . ? What is madness?
There is no one simple definition, as even those who have built their profession on its study are forced to admit. The fourth edition of the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders ( DSM-IV) begins by noting that 'Although this manual provides a classification of mental disorders, it must be admitted that no definition adequately specifies precise boundaries for the concept of "mental disorder" . . .'. 1 Yet this difficulty in definitional precision has not, of course, prevented people (including the authors of DSM-IV) from attempting to pin down the meaning of madness. These attempts generally take an aetiological form, and can be divided broadly into three groups, although there is, of course, a good deal of overlap between them.2 First are the neurobiological models, which seek the roots of disorder of the mind in dysfunctional mechanics of the body.3 These models, based on 'hard science' rather than the more abstract theorizing which characterizes the other groups, are tempting because they seem to offer the stability of empiricism, but detractors -- most notably and vociferously, Szasz -- stress that they are, in fact, not based on empirical evidence at all, but rather on analogy: mental illness is like somatic illness, but it is not somatic illness, and to call it illness at all, according to Szasz, is to be using a metaphor.4____________________