Conventional classification systems of mental disorders, such as the DSM-5, define psychopathology and substance use disorders as distinct, independent, and categorical constructs. This implies that a patient either meets the diagnostic threshold for a particular mental disorder or not (categorical). As a result, the disorder does not overlap with other disorders (distinct), and therefore presence of the disorder should (in theory) not raise the odds of having another disorder (independent). These assumptions are challenged both by clinical experience and empirical research. Indeed, plentiful scientific studies seem to suggest that trans-diagnostic processes (including (irregularities in) sleep and memory) are at play in the etiology and treatment of psychopathology. As a consequence, trans-diagnostic models of psychopathology are emerging because they hold promise to increase our conceptual understanding of fundamental clinical observations such as comorbidity.
Within this two-day symposium, the theoretical need for trans-diagnostic models as well as the current evidence for the importance of the trans-diagnostic processes such as sleep, memory and overgeneralization will be explained by leading experts in the respective fields of study. The implications for clinical practice will also be explored as well as venues for future progress.