Comment 4 - Mental syndromes and neurotransmitters (Donald F. Klein)

Syndromes and Neurotransmitters
Donald F. Klein’s “fourth” question/comment on Martin M.Katz’s monograph“Depression and Drugs”

If the neurotransmitters each control a particular behavioral domain, then particular distinctive arrays of behavior, such as melancholia, panic disorder, animal phobia, etc.(generally called syndromes) should each be mapped onto a particular complex of neurotransmitters. However,we are told that neurotransmitters vary without regard to any supervening syndrome. Does this imply that syndromes are due to some other non-neurotransmitter processes? Or is it an argument for the lack of utility of the syndrome notion? Or does it indicate that stating neurotransmitters vary without regard to supervening syndrome may be sometimes correct and some times wrong. I don’t see, given our current limited knowledge,  how to decide. Perhaps, simply deferring judgment is the best option.


Donald  F. Klein

September 4, 2014