psychiatry

R. D. Laing and the Anti-Psychiatry Movement

R. D. Laing and the Anti-Psychiatry Movement

On August 23, 1989, Scottish psychiatrist Ronald David Laing passed away. Laing is noted for his alternative approach to the treatment of schizophrenia. His first book, The Divided Self, was an attempt to explain schizophrenia by using existentialist philosophy to vividly portray the inner world of a schizophrenic, which Laing presented as an attempt to live in an unlivable situation. Laing’s views on the causes and treatment of serious mental dysfunction, greatly influenced…
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The Cathartic Method of Josef Breuer

The Cathartic Method of Josef Breuer

On June 20, 1925, Austrian physician Josef Breuer passed away. Breuer made some of the key discoveries in neurophysiology. His work in the 1880s with a patient known as Anna O. developed the talking cure (cathartic method) and laid the foundation to psychoanalysis as developed by his protégé Sigmund Freud.[5] “…much will be gained if we succeed in transforming your hysterical misery into common unhappiness. With a mental life that has been…
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Learning and Motivation according to Clark Leonard Hull

Learning and Motivation according to Clark Leonard Hull

On May 24, 1884, American psychiatrist Clark Leonard Hull was born. Hull sought to explain learning and motivation by scientific laws of behavior and is also known for his work in drive theory. He was able to establish his analysis of animal learning and conditioning as the dominant learning theory of its time. He is perhaps best known for the “goal gradient” effect or hypothesis, wherein organisms spend disproportionate amounts of effort in…
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Nathan Kline – A Pioneer of Psychopharmacological Drugs

Nathan Kline – A Pioneer of Psychopharmacological Drugs

On March 22, 1916, American psychologist Nathan Schellenberg Kline was born. Kline is best known for his work with psychopharmacologic drugs. He pioneered in the biochemical treatment of mentally ill patients by introducing the use of such drugs as the antidepressants lithium and iproniazid and the tranquilizer resperin. “Those of us who work in this field see a developing potential for a nearly total control of human emotional status, mental functioning, and will to act. These…
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Thomas Willis and the Anatomy of the Nervous System

Thomas Willis and the Anatomy of the Nervous System

On January 27, 1620, English physician and founding member of the Royal Society Thomas Willis was born, who played an important part in the history of anatomy, neurology and psychiatry. A club of scientists including Robert Boyle, Christopher Wren and John Wilkins met in his rooms in Oxford, which later should become founding members of the Royal Society.[5,6] “But the office of the Cerebral seems to be for the animal Spirits to supply…
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Benedict Morel and Dementia Praecox

Benedict Morel and Dementia Praecox

On November 22, 1809, French psychiatrist Bénédict Morel was born. Morel was an influential figure in the field of degeneration during the mid-19th century. In 1852, he coined the term ‘precocious madness‘ for a chronic, deteriorating psychotic disorder characterized by rapid cognitive disintegration, usually beginning in the late teens or early adulthood, today known as dementia praecox. Benedict Morel – Background and Career Bénédict Morel was born in 1809 in Vienna, Austria,…
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The Interpretation of Dreams according to Sigmund Freud

The Interpretation of Dreams according to Sigmund Freud

On November 4, 1899, Sigmund Freud’s “Die Traumdeutung” (Interpretation of Dreams) was published. The book introduces Freud’s theory of the unconscious with respect to dream interpretation, and also first discusses what would later become the theory of the Oedipus complex. Freud said of this work, “Insight such as this falls to one’s lot but once in a lifetime.” Besides his later introduced structural model of the human psyche (1923) [1,2], the ‘Interpretation of Dreams’ is…
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Alois Alzheimer and the Disease Of Advanced Civilization

Alois Alzheimer and the Disease Of Advanced Civilization

On November 3, 1906, German psychiatrist Alois Alzheimer presented for the first time the pathology and the clinical symptoms of presenile dementia together, later renamed in his honor as Alzheimer’s disease. Alois Alzheimer – Early Years Alois Alzheimer was born in Marktbreit, Bavaria, the eldest son from the second marriage of the notary Eduard Alzheimer and his wife Barbara Theresia née Busch, a sister of the first wife Eva-Maria née Busch, who died…
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Richard von Krafft-Ebing and Deviant Sexual Behaviour

Richard von Krafft-Ebing and Deviant Sexual Behaviour

On August 14, 1840, Austro-German psychiatrist Richard von Krafft-Ebing was born. He was recognized as an authority on deviant sexual behavior and its medicolegal aspects. He was the author of the foundational work Psychopathia Sexualis, which contained in its last edition more than 200 case histories out of the hundreds of medical and court reports he had collected. Therein, he also coined the terms sadism and masochism. Youth and Education Krafft-Ebing was born…
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Philippe Pinel – the Father of modern Psychiatry

Philippe Pinel – the Father of modern Psychiatry

On April 20, 1745, French physician Philippe Pinel was born. He was instrumental in the development of a more humane psychological approach to the custody and care of psychiatric patients, referred to today as moral therapy. He also made notable contributions to the classification of mental disorders and has been described by some as “the father of modern psychiatry“. “I cannot here avoid giving my most decided sufferage in favour of the moral qualities…
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