Timeline of psychiatry

This is a timeline of the modern development of psychiatry. Related information can be found in the Timeline of psychology and Timeline of psychotherapy articles.

Early history of psychiatry

1550 BCE

The Ebers papyrus, one of the most important medical papyri of ancient Egypt, briefly mentioned clinical depression.[1]

A page from the Ebers Papyrus.
6th century BCE

600 B.C., many cities had temples to Asklepios known as an Asklepieion that provided cures for psychosomatic illnesses[2]

4th century BCE

Greek physician Hippocrates theorized that physiological abnormalities may be the root of mental disorders.

280 BCE

Greek physician and philosopher Herophilus studied the nervous system and distinguished between sensory nerves and motor nerves.

250 BCE

Greek anatomist Erasistratus studied the brain and distinguished between the cerebrum and cerebellum.

9th century

The first bimaristan was built in Baghdad, followed by several others throughout the Arab world. By the 13th century, they had become large, complex, and divided into several different specialized units. A number of these hospitals contained wards for mentally ill patients.[3]

11th century

Persian physician Avicenna recognized "physiological psychology" in the treatment of illnesses involving emotions, and developed a system for associating changes in the pulse rate with inner feelings.


Bethlehem Royal Hospital in Bishopsgate outside the wall of London, one of the most famous old psychiatric hospitals was founded as a priory of the Order of St. Mary of Bethlem to collect alms for Crusaders; after the English government secularized it, it started admitting mental patients by 1377 (1403?), becoming known as Bedlam Hospital; in 1547 it was acquired by the City of London, operating until 1948; it is now part of the British NHS Foundation Trust.[4]

Psychiatry in the Enlightenment


King Louis XIV of France founded Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris for prostitutes and the mentally defective.


English physician Thomas Willis published the anatomical treatise De Anima Brutorum, describing psychology in terms of brain function.


After being plagued with guilt over the Salem Witch Trials, influential New England Puritan minister Cotton Mather broke with superstition by advancing physical explanations for mental illnesses over demonic explanations.[5]


English physician William Battie published Treatise on Madness, calling for treatments to be utilized on rich and poor mental patients alike in asylums.


French physician Philippe Pinel was appointed to Bicêtre Hospital in south Paris, ordering chains removed from mental patients, and founding Moral Treatment. In 1809 he published the first description of dementia praecox (schizophrenia).


The York Retreat in England was founded by Quakers, becoming known for humane treatment and serving as a model.

Psychiatry in the 19th century


German physician Johann Christian Reil coined the term "psychiatry".[6]


American physician Benjamin Rush became one of the earliest advocates of humane treatment for the mentally ill with the publication of Medical Inquiries and Observations Upon Diseases of the Mind,[7] the first American textbook on psychiatry.[5]


The element lithium was first isolated from lithium oxide and described by English chemist William Thomas Brande.


What became the Royal College of Psychiatrists, then known as the Association of Medical Officers of Asylums and Hospitals for the Insane, was founded in England, receiving a royal charter in 1926.


The Association of Medical Superintendents of American Institutions for the Insane (AMSAII), the forerunner of the American Psychiatric Association (APA), was founded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


The Lunacy Act 1845 and the County Asylums Act 1845 were passed in England and Wales, leading to the setting up of the Lunacy Commission.


Dr. Samuel Cartwright, a prominent Louisiana physician and one of the leading authorities in his time on the medical care of Negroes, identified two mental disorders peculiar to slaves: Drapetomia, or the disease causing Negroes to run away; Dysaethesia Aethiopica which proposed a theory for the cause of laziness among slaves. Today, both are considered examples of scientific racism.


French physician Bénédict Augustin Morel published Traite des Maladies Mentales (2 vols.); the 2nd ed. (1860) coined the term "dementia praecox" (demence precoce) for patients suffering from "stupor" (melancholia). In 1857 he published Traité des Dégénérescences, promoting an understanding of mental illness based upon the theory of Degeneration, which became one of the most influential concepts in psychiatry for the rest of the century.


Josef Breuer published Traite Clinique et Therapeutique de L'Hysterie.


German psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin clinically defined "dementia praecox", later reformulated as schizophrenia.


Sigmund Freud and Josef Breuer of Austria published Studies on Hysteria, based on the case of Bertha Pappenheim (known as Anna O.), developing the Talking Cure; Freud and Breuer later split over Freud's obsession with sex.


The Kraepelinian dichotomy between affective psychosis and dementia praecox (schizophrenia) was introduced in the 6th edition of Emil Kraepelin's famous Lehrbuch.

On 4 November Sigmund Freud published The Interpretation of Dreams (Die Traumdeutung).

Early 20th century psychiatry


Russian neurologist Vladimir Bekhterev discovered the role of the hippocampus in memory.


German psychiatrist Alois Alzheimer identified the first case of what later became known as Alzheimer's disease.

Sigmund Freud published The Psychopathology of Everyday Life.


Swiss-born psychiatrist Adolf Meyer became director of the New York State Psychiatric Institute, influencing American psychiatry with his "common sense" approach which included keeping detailed patient records; he coined the term "mental hygiene".


French psychologists Alfred Binet and Theodore Simon created the Binet-Simon Scale to assess intellectual ability, marking the start of standardized psychological testing.


Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov published the first Conditioning studies.


The term "Schizophrenia" was coined by Swiss psychiatrist Paul Eugen Bleuler.


In September Sigmund Freud visited Clark University, winning over the U.S. psychiatric establishment.


Sigmund Freud founded the International Psychoanalytical Association (IPA), with Carl Jung as the first president, and Otto Rank as the first secretary.

Boris Sidis opened the Sidis Psychotherapeutic Institute (a private hospital) at Maplewood Farms in Portsmouth, NH for the treatment of nervous patients using the latest scientific methods.


Alfred Adler left Freud's Psychoanalytic Group to form his own school of thought, accusing Freud of overemphasizing sexuality and basing his theory on his own childhood.

The American Psychoanalytic Association (APsaA) was founded.


The British Psychoanalytical Society was founded by Ernest Jones, who became Freud's biographer.

Citing Freud's inability to acknowledge religion and spirituality, Carl Jung split and developed his own theories; his new school of thought became known as Analytical Psychology.

Jacob L. Moreno pioneered Group Psychotherapy methods in Vienna, which emphasized spontaneity and interaction; they later became known as Psychodrama and Sociometry.


Sigmund Freud published On Narcissism: An Introduction.[8]


Sigmund Freud published Introduction to Psychoanalysis, and Mourning and Melancholia.[9]


Swiss psychiatrist Hermann Rorschach developed the Rorschach Inkblot Test.


Sigmund Freud published Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego.


German pharmacologist Otto Loewi and English neuroscientist Sir Henry Dale discovered Acetylcholine, the first neurotransmitter to be described, winning them the 1936 Nobel Prize.


German neuropsychiatrist Hans Berger discovered human Electroencephalography.

Otto Rank published The Trauma of Birth, coining the term "pre-Oedipal", causing Freud to break with him.


The Société Psychanalytique de Paris was founded with the endorsement of Sigmund Freud; the Nazis closed it in 1940.


Austrian psychiatrist Manfred Sakel developed Insulin Shock Therapy as a treatment for psychosis; it was discontinued in the 1970s.

Austrian physician Julius Wagner-Jauregg won the Nobel Prize for his invention of malarial therapy as a treatment for general paralysis of the insane (neurosyphilis). He first initiated the treatment in 1917.


Indian Association for Mental Hygiene established.


Hungarian psychiatrist Sándor Ferenczi published a paper claiming that patient accounts of childhood sexual abuse are true, providing a psychological explanation, causing Freud to break with him.


The Indian division of the Royal Medico-Psychological Association was formed due to the efforts of Dr. Banarasi Das.


Italian neurologist Ugo Cerletti and Italian psychiatrist Dr. Lucio Bini discovered Electroconvulsive Therapy.


Swiss psychiatrist Ludwig Binswanger founded Existential Therapy.

The Controversial Discussions between Sigmund Freud's daughter Anna Freud and Melanie Klein, founder of Object Relations Theory caused the British Psychoanalytical Society to permanently split into three camps.


Ritalin (Methylphenidate) was synthesized.


Mary Jane Ward published the novel The Snake Pit, which was filmed in 1948, causing reforms in U.S. state psychiatric hospitals.


Indian Psychiatric Society established.


Lithium carbonate's ability to stabilize mood highs and lows in bipolar mood disorder (manic depression) was demonstrated by Australian psychiatrist John Cade, becoming the first effective medicine for the treatment of mental illness.


Portuguese neurologist Egas Moniz won the Nobel Prize for his work on Lobotomy.

The era of the new psychopharmacology


The World Psychiatric Association was founded.


The first published clinical trial of chlorpromazine which is the first antipsychotic (invented by Henri Laborit, Jean Delay and Pierre Deniker) was conducted at Sainte-Anne Hospital Center in Paris. Known as Largactil in Europe, it was brought to Montreal by Heinz Lehman and named Thorazine.

Chlorpromazine's chemical structure.

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) published the first Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM); it was revised in 1968, 1980/7, 1994, 2000 and 2013.


The first monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) antidepressant iproniazid was discovered.


Russian-born physiologist Nathaniel Kleitman of the U. of Chicago discovered Rapid eye movement sleep (REM), founding modern sleep research.

French psychiatrist Jacques Lacan broke with the IPA over his variable-length sessions, and founded the Société Française de Psychanalyse.


James Olds and Peter Milner of McGill University discovered the brain reward system.

Roger Sperry of Caltech began split-brain research.

On the recommendation of the Bhore Committee in 1946, the All India Institute of Mental Health was founded, becoming the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) in 1974 at Bangalore.


Gregory Bateson, John Weakland, Donald deAvila Jackson, and Jay Haley proposed the double bind theory of schizophrenia, which regards it as stemming from situations where a person receives different or contradictory messages.

The English translation of The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud was published in 24 volumes (1956–74).


Arvid Carlsson demonstrated that dopamine is a neurotransmitter in the brain.

The first tricyclic antidepressant (TCA), imipramine was discovered.


Aaron B. Lerner et al. of Yale University isolated the hormone melatonin, which was found to regulate the circadian rhythm.


Aaron T. Beck developed cognitive therapy.


The first benzodiazepine, chlordiazepoxide, under the trade name Librium was introduced.


Professor of psychiatry Thomas Szasz publishes The Myth of Mental Illness.


United States president John F. Kennedy introduced legislation delegating the National Institute of Mental Health to administer Community Mental Health Centers for those being discharged from state psychiatric hospitals.

Medard Boss founded Daseinsanalysis.


Ronald David Laing published Sanity, Madness and the Family, claiming that the roots of schizophrenia lie in the "family nexus", where people play dark games with each other.


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved lithium for acute mania.

The United States U.S. Controlled Substances Act was passed, putting LSD, DMT, Psilocybin, Mescaline, and Marijuana on Schedule I (no accepted medical use).


American psychologist David Rosenhan published the Rosenhan experiment, a study challenging the validity of psychiatric diagnoses.


The American Psychiatric Association declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder.[10]

The Caucus of Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Members of the American Psychiatric Association was officially founded. A primary function of the organization was to advocate to the APA on LGBT mental health issues. The caucus changed its name to the Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists in 1985.[11]


The ICD-9 was published by the WHO.

Andrey Lichko published Psychopathies and Accentuations of Character of Teenagers.[12]


Transgender people were officially classified by the American Psychiatric Association as having "gender identity disorder."[13]


The National Mental Health Programme (NMHP) was launched in India.


The European Psychiatric Association was founded.[14]


The Indian Mental Health Act was drafted by the parliament, but it came into effect in all the states andunion territories of India in April 1993. This act replaced the Indian Lunacy Act of 1912, which had earlier replaced the Indian Lunatic Asylum act of 1858.


Fluoxetine (trade name Prozac), the first selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant was released, quickly becoming the most prescribed.

The American Neuropsychiatric Association was founded.


Use of the "blood-oxygen-level dependent" (BOLD) in MRI first discovered by Dr. Seiji Ogawa[15]


Kenneth Kwong successfully applied BOLD to image human brain activities with MRI, and published the findings in 1992.[16]


The appetite-suppressing hormone leptin was discovered.


U.S. President Bill Clinton signed the Mental Health Parity Act, requiring psychiatric conditions to be considered equal to any other medical or surgical illness by health insurance providers; in 2008 President George W. Bush signed an amended version.

21st century


The No Free Lunch Organization was founded by Dr. Bob Goodman, an internist from New York.


The European Brain Council was founded in Brussels.

The term for schizophrenia in Japan was changed from Seishin-Bunretsu-Byō 精神分裂病 (mind-split-disease) to Tōgō-shitchō-shō 統合失調症 (integration disorder) to reduce stigma.[17] The new name was inspired by the biopsychosocial model; it increased the percentage of patients who were informed of the diagnosis from 37% to 70% over three years.[18]


In 2009 America's professional association of endocrinologists established best practices for transgender children that included prescribing puberty-suppressing drugs to preteens followed by hormone therapy beginning at about age 16, and in 2012 the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry echoed these recommendations.[19]

The American Psychiatric Association issued official position statements supporting the care and civil rights of transgender and gender non-conforming individuals.[20]


DSM-5 was published by the American Psychiatric Association. Among other things, it eliminated the term "gender identity disorder," which was considered stigmatizing, instead referring to "gender dysphoria," which focuses attention only on those who feel distressed by their gender identity.[21]

Notes and references

  1. ^ Scholl, Reinhold (2002). Der Papyrus Ebers. Die größte Buchrolle zur Heilkunde Altägyptens. Leipzig. ISBN 3-910108-93-8.
  2. ^ Silverberg, Robert (1967). The dawn of medicine. Putnam. Retrieved 21 April 2013.
  3. ^ Miller, Andrew C (December 2006). "Jundi-Shapur, bimaristans, and the rise of academic medical centres". Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. 99 (12). pp. 615–617. doi:10.1258/jrsm.99.12.615.
  4. ^ Shorter, E. (1997)
  5. ^ a b Mental Wellness.com
  6. ^ British Journal of Psychiatry, Psychiatry’s 200th birthday
  7. ^ http://deila.dickinson.edu/theirownwords/title/0034.htm
  8. ^ http://www.freud2lacan.com/docs/On_Narcissim_with_Introduction.pdf
  9. ^ http://www.barondecharlus.com/uploads/2/7/8/8/2788245/freud_-_mourning_and_melancholia.pdf
  10. ^ Bayer, Ronald (1987). Homosexuality and American Psychiatry: The Politics of Diagnosis. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-02837-0.[page needed]
  11. ^ AGLP History Archived 19 June 2016 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ Личко А. Е. Психопатии и акцентуации характера у подростков. – Речь, 2010. – ISBN 978-5-9268-0828-2.
  13. ^ glbtq >> social sciences >> Transgender Activism Archived 25 May 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ http://www.europsy.net/
  15. ^ Ogawa, S., Lee, T.M., Nayak, A.S., and Glynn, P. (1990). "Oxygenation-sensitive contrast in magnetic resonance image of rodent brain at high magnetic fields". Magnetic Resonance in Medicine. 14 (1): 68–78. doi:10.1002/mrm.1910140108. PMID 2161986.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  16. ^ KK Kwong; JW Belliveau; DA Chesler; IE Goldberg; RM Weisskoff; BP Poncelet; DN Kennedy; BE Hoppel; MS Cohen; R Turner; H Cheng; TJ Brady & BR Rosen (1992). "Dynamic Magnetic Resonance Imaging of Human Brain Activity During Primary Sensory Stimulation". PNAS. 89 (12): 5675–79. doi:10.1073/pnas.89.12.5675. PMC 49355. PMID 1608978.
  17. ^ "Impact of the term schizophrenia on the culture of ideograph: the Japanese experience". 27 (2). 2001: 181–5. doi:10.1093/oxfordjournals.schbul.a006864. PMID 11354585. Cite journal requires |journal=
  18. ^ Sato, M (2004). "Renaming schizophrenia: a Japanese perspective". World Psychiatry. 5 (1): 53–55. PMC 1472254. PMID 16757998.
  19. ^ Transgender At 10. Wweek.com (6 August 2014). Retrieved on 26 April 2015.
  20. ^ Ford, Zack (21 August 2012). "APA Issues Position Statements Supporting Transgender Care And Civil Rights". ThinkProgress. Archived from the original on 23 October 2012. Retrieved 6 November 2012.
  21. ^ 'Psychiatric bible' tackles grief, binge eating, drinking – CNN.com

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