History of psychiatry

Psychiatry as we know it has not existed for as long as we know it; people with a psychiatric disorder were ‘treated’ very differently at the beginning of the last century than they are today. Nowadays, fortunately, the psychiatric patient is often just part of society, but that was different in the past.

Psychiatry in the Middle Ages

In the Middle Ages, psychiatric patients were seen as a kind of scapegoat. Their disorder was a punishment from God or was caused by devilish possession. There were no treatments for these people, they were captured or burned at the stake.

The 17th century

In the 17th century, psychiatry was seen more as something insane. Mental illness was discussed. However, medicine gained more and more influence and psychiatric patients were also examined. Treatment was not yet possible and people were locked up in shelters under appalling conditions.

The 19th century

Because medicine started examining psychiatric patients, they gained more insight into these disorders. They were organized according to a certain classification system and the asylums were converted into hospitals. Unfortunately, treatment was still not possible.

Psychiatry in the 20th century

In the last century, treatments for mild psychiatric disorders finally emerged. Medicines were discovered in the 1960s to treat depression, anxiety and psychoses, among other things.

Today’s psychiatry

As stated in the introduction, psychiatry has now truly become an area of research and a professional field. It is part of our society and most conditions are treatable.

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