In the introduction, a philosophically informed concept of mental disorders is presented. In order to define a clinically relevant mental malady, it suggests to focus on functional impairments relevant for human survival and the individually harmful consequences resulting from these dysfunctions. While this approach generally defines what can count as a mental disorder, it does not help to understand the neurobiological underpinnings of specific disorders. Traditional disease categories, on the other hand, do not reflect current neurobiological research. With respect to neurobiological lay based disease classifications, it is suggested to assess alterations of basic mechanisms of decision making and reward related learning, which cut across established nosological boundaries. For example, dopamine-dependent reinforcement learning is altered in psychotic, affective and addictive disorders.
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