Portal:Psychiatry

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Psychiatry

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Psychiatry is the medical specialty devoted to the study and treatment of mental disorders. These mental disorders include various affective, behavioural, cognitive and perceptual abnormalities. The term was first coined by the German physician Johann Christian Reil in 1808, and literally means the 'medical treatment of the mind' (psych-: mind; from Ancient Greek psykhē: soul; -iatry: medical treatment; from Greek iātrikos: medical, iāsthai: to heal). A medical doctor specializing in psychiatry is a psychiatrist. Please see our medical disclaimer for cautions about Wikipedia's limitations.


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Anti-psychiatry is a configuration of groups and theoretical constructs that emerged in the 1960s, which challenged the fundamental assumptions and practices of psychiatry and sought to develop alternatives. Its igniting intellectual influences were Michel Foucault, R.D. Laing, Thomas Szasz and Franco Basaglia. The term was first used by the psychiatrist David Cooper in 1967.

The anti-psychiatry movement says that the specific definitions of, or criteria for, hundreds of current psychiatric diagnoses or disorders are vague and arbitrary, leaving too much room for opinions and interpretations to meet basic scientific standards. They also say that prevailing psychiatric treatments are ultimately far more damaging than helpful to patients.

Some mental health professionals and academics profess anti-psychiatry views, as do a number of former and current users of psychiatric services. Some critics focus their attention on what is known as biological psychiatry.

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Benjamin Rush
b. (1746-01-04)January 4, 1746 – d. April 19, 1813(1813-04-19) (aged 67)

Benjamin Rush (January 4, 1746 [O.S. December 24, 1745] – April 19, 1813) was a Founding Father of the United States. Rush lived in the state of Pennsylvania and was a physician, writer, educator, humanitarian and a Christian Universalist, as well as the founder of Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Rush was a signatory of the Declaration of Independence and attended the Continental Congress. He was also a staunch opponent of Gen. George Washington and worked tirelessly to have him removed as the Commander-In-Chief of the Continental Army. Later in life, he became a professor of medical theory and clinical practice at the University of Pennsylvania. Despite having a wide influence on the development of American government, he is not as widely known as many of his American contemporaries. Rush was also an early opponent of slavery and capital punishment.

Despite his great contributions to early American society, Rush may be more famous today as the man who, in 1812, helped reconcile the friendship of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams by encouraging the two former Presidents to resume writing to each other.

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Credit: OldakQuill

1920s exhibit of criminal brains

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Did you know?

......that folie à deux s a delusional disorder shared by two or more people who are closely related emotionally?
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......that ablative brain surgery, which involves destroying brain tissue by heat or freezing, was used until recently in the People's Republic of China to treat people with schizophrenia?
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......that there was a widespread belief in 19th-century German psychiatry that all forms of mental illness were simple variations of a single unitary psychosis?
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