Otto Ludwig Binswanger (October 14, 1852 born in Münsterlingen – July 15, 1929) was a Swiss psychiatrist and neurologist who came from a famous family of physicians; his father was founder of the Kreuzlingen Sanatorium, and he was uncle to Ludwig Binswanger (1881-1966) who was a major figure in the existential psychology movement. He was brother-in-law to physiotherapist Heinrich Averbeck (1844-1889).
After receiving his medical degree in 1877, Binswanger became an assistant to Theodor Meynert (1833-1892) in Vienna. Afterwards he worked in Göttingen at the psychiatric clinic under Ludwig Meyer (1827-1900), and later at the pathological institute in Breslau. In 1880 he was appointed chief physician under Karl Friedrich Otto Westphal (1833-1890) in the psychiatric and neurological clinic at Charité Hospital in Berlin. From 1882 until 1919 he was a professor and director of psychology at the University of Jena. At Jena he worked with several young neurologists that included Theodor Ziehen (1862–1950), Oskar Vogt (1870–1959), Korbinian Brodmann (1868–1918), and Hans Berger (1873–1941). In 1911 he attained the title of Rector at the university.
Binswanger wrote over 100 publications, most notably on epilepsy, neurasthenia and hysteria. His 1899 textbook on epilepsy becoming a standard in the profession. In his histopathological research he sought to explain similarities and differences between progressive paralysis and other types of organic brain disease. With neurologist Ernst Siemerling (1857-1931), he was co-author of an influential textbook on psychiatry titled Lehrbuch der Psychiatrie (1904).
In 1894 he described a condition he called "encephalitis subcorticalis chronica progressiva", which would later go by the name of "Binswanger disease". This disease is defined as subcortical dementia characterized by loss of memory and intellectual faculties. One of his more famous patients was German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, others were the writers (later on) Hans Fallada and Johannes R. Becher.
- Psychiatry Online (biography)
- Parts of this article are based on a translation of an equivalent article at the German Wikipedia.
-  American Journal of Psychiatry