Priests, Potions, Prisons, and Prozac: The History of Mental Illness

Prof. Greg Eghigian

Greg Eghigian, is Associate Professor of Modern History and former Director of the Science, Technology, and Society Program at Penn State University.

He is the editor and author of numerous books, including “From Madness to Mental Health: Psychiatric Disorder and its Treatment in Western Civilization“, and the forthcoming “Routledge History of Madness and Mental Health“. He is also co-founding editor of the scholarly blog, H-Madness, and Section Editor for Psychiatric Times History of Psychiatry.

In today’s episode we trace the history of mental illness from ancient Palestine, and the Greek physician Hippocrates, right the way up to Prozac and self-help gurus.

On the way we encounter exorcisms, bloodletting, witch doctors, magic spells, Islamic hospitals, mental asylums, country house retreats, Sigmund Freud, the advent of pharmacology, deinstitutionalization and the rise of psychotherapy.

Special thanks to Allison Foerschner whose brilliant article “The History of Mental Illness: From Skull Drills to Happy Pills” inspired this episode.

 

Greg’s Recommended Links

H-Madness – A blog exploring the history of madness

Books Mentioned in This Episode

          

 

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Image courtesy: Wikimedia

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