Delay’s classification by Carlos R. Hojaij

In 1957, in the “psychopharmacology symposium” at the Second World Congress of Psychiatry, organized by the World Psychiatric Association (WPA) in Zurich (Switzerland), Jean Delay (1959a) proposed to classify “psychiatric medications” into three groups:”psycholeptics”, “psychoanaleptics” and “psychodysleptics”.  In the same presentation, he defined “psycholeptics”, as substances that produced relaxation and depressed mental activity; “psychoanaleptics”, as substances that simulated mental activity; and “psychodysleptics”, as substances that disturbed mental activity. He further divided “psycholeptics” into “depressors of vigilance” (hypnotics) and depressors of affect (tranquilizers) and  “psychoanaleptics” into “stimulants of vigilance” (psyhostimulants) and stimulants of  affect” (antidepressants). Delay (1959b) repeated the same proposition, in 1958, at the 1st Congress of the Collegium Internationale Neuro-Psychopharmacologicum (CINP), in Rome (Italy).

Delay J. Intervention à propos de la terminologie et la classification des médicaments psychiatriques.  In: Kline NS, editor. Neuropsychopharmacology Frontiers. New York: Little Brown; 1959a, pp. 426-9. 

Delay J. Discussion: Fourth Symposium. In: Bradley PB, Deniker P, Radouco-Thomas C. Neuropsychopharmacology. Proceedings of the First International Congress of Neuro-Pharmacology. Amsterdam: Elsevier; 1959b, pp. 167-72.

Carlos R. Hojaij

August 7, 2014