In the network approach to psychopathology, mental disorders arise from causal connections between symptoms. This conceptualization offers novel perspectives on the theoretical status of mental disorders: instead of cleanly separable categories that reflect central neural or psychological deficits, disorders arise from symptom networks that are so tightly connected that they can sustain their own activity. This conceptual framework has led to the development of innovative approaches to both the analysis of research data and the organization of treatment interventions, primarily through the application of network analysis: a set of techniques that offers powerful tools to study the dynamics of interconnected systems, to analyze the architecture of networks involving large numbers of entities (e.g., neurons, people, genes, symptoms), and to visualize connectivity structures in such networks. In the present talk, I will give an overview of the most important insights and results that have arisen from the network analysis, and will discuss future directions of the approach.
University of Amsterdam