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History of Psychiatry

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By Abraham Nunes Psychiatry resident interested in computational neuroscience, forensic psychiatry, and neuropsychiatry.
Eric J Engstrom, Kenneth S Kendler
In the last third of the 20th century, the German psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin (1856-1926) became an icon of postpsychoanalytic medical-model psychiatry in the United States. His name became synonymous with a proto-biological, antipsychological, brain-based, and hard-nosed nosologic approach to psychiatry. This article argues that this contemporary image of Kraepelin fails to appreciate the historical contexts in which he worked and misrepresents his own understanding of his clinical practice and research. A careful rereading and contextualization of his inaugural lecture on becoming chair of psychiatry at the University of Tartu (known at the time as the University of Dorpat) in 1886 and of the numerous editions of his famous textbook reveals that Kraepelin was, compared with our current view of him, 1) far more psychologically inclined and stimulated by the exciting early developments of scientific psychology, 2) considerably less brain-centric, and 3) nosologically more skeptical and less doctrinaire...
December 2015: American Journal of Psychiatry
Walter A Brown, Maria Rosdolsky
The major classes of psychotropic drugs were introduced in an extraordinary decade of discovery between the late 1940s and late 1950s. In the present climate of pessimism about the absence of new drug development, it may be instructive to look back at the research methods used during that era. The study that identified the first antidepressant is a case in point. It was conducted by Roland Kuhn, a Swiss psychiatrist working in a remote psychiatric hospital. Kuhn, like the other pioneering researchers of his day, was given access to new drug entities, and the method he used to discover their clinical effects was open-minded, exploratory, comprehensive, clinical observation...
May 2015: American Journal of Psychiatry
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