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History of Psychiatry

History of Psychiatry

A common misconception about the history of mental illness is that, before Freud and psychoanalysis, there was no such thing as talk therapies or what is commonly known today as psychotherapy.

Historical records reveal Don Juan syndrome was a recognized diagnosis that referred to forms of hypersexuality and sex addiction.

In last month’s column, I discussed how 19th century psychiatrists began recognizing the possibility that a mental disorder might affect only one facet of an individual’s personality (volition), leaving others relatively untouched.

Psychology and psychiatry at the turn of the last century considered the will an indispensable category. Not so today.

In the case of orthorexic thinking, clinicians, patients, and their loved ones are bombarded by the same cultural tropes about our bodies and their relationship with the environment in which we live.

In a recent college course, Dr Eghigian asked his students to discuss long-term patterns and trends in the history of the handling of mental illness. He was struck by a recurring tendency. Most students portrayed the history of mental health in one of two ways.

Any physician can predict death as the outcome of a fatal illness, but the physician who can predict death from among seeming randomness has certainly acquired a superior level of insight.


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