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History of Psychiatry

History of Psychiatry

In the history of psychiatry, the First World War is often identified with the rise of the disorder of “shellshock.” However, many in both the medical community and the military establishment were dubious of the claim that war could produce psychiatric symptoms.

During the first half of the 19th century, the asylum appeared to offer an innovative way for society to humanely manage and effectively treat mental illness.

If historians have demonstrated anything, it is that psychiatry, clinical psychology, and psychotherapy cannot be neatly associated with any one particular kind of political ideology or movement.

In the run-up to publication of DSM-5, there was much discussion of the extent to which the pharmaceutical industry—“Big Pharma”—stood to profit from the revisions.

Concerns are raised about DSM-5 revisions in the definition of depression. Many worry that eliminating the bereavement exception in the guidelines for the diagnosis of major depressive disorder represents a dangerous move.

Very important—but generally neglected—aspects of the history of psychiatry provide something of a glimpse of what historians of mental health and illness are mulling over these days.

When this physician published an article containing his case summaries of 3 women with dementia praecox, he made it clear that this was a disease that neurologists and physicians in general practice could easily and reliably diagnose by following his diagnostic procedures.

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