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History of Psychiatry

Welcome to the History Page

Greg Eghigian, PhD, Section Editor for Psychiatric Times History of Psychiatry, is Associate Professor of Modern History and former Director of the Science, Technology, and Society Program at Penn State University, University Park, Pa. He writes and teaches on the history of madness, mental illness, and mental health in the Western world. He is the editor and author of numerous books, most recently From Madness to Mental Health: Psychiatric Disorder and its Treatment in Western Civilization (Rutgers University Press; 2010). He is also co-editor of the scholarly blog, h-madness. For Dr Eghigian's author page, please click here.

 

History of Psychiatry

After years of working with troubled individuals claiming to have been abducted by extraterrestrials, Harvard University Professor John Mack published a book. What made Mack and the book so controversial was the fact that he had come to accept that his patients’ stories were an accurate description of real events.

Advances in psychiatric research, spanning the entire spectrum of biological, psychological, and social aspects of mental processes and functions, have transformed the field of psychiatry. More in this inaugural piece by Psychiatric Times' Editor in Chief.

If you're up for a little ancient humor, you'll love this original translation of an ancient Babylonian text in which a physician is jilted on a fee, then is further embarrassed in his efforts to collect it.

A limited sampling presented here lends no support to Dr Thomas Szasz’s claim that 19th century physicians regarded the term “mental disease” as merely a figure of speech; on the contrary, several prominent physicians of this era recognized such conditions as both real and debilitating.

In the 1980s, thousands of patients insisted they were recovering childhood memories of physical and sexual abuse during Satanic cult rituals. Here: a look back at the moral panic.

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.

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