By Edward Shorter

ISBN-10: 0471245313

ISBN-13: 9780471245315

Publish yr note: First released in 1996

In A historical past of Psychiatry, Edward Shorter exhibits us the tough, farcical, and encouraging realities of society's altering attitudes towards and makes an attempt to house its mentally ailing and the efforts of generations of scientists and physicians to ease their anguish. He paints bright images of psychiatry's top old figures and pulls no punches in assessing their roles in advancing or sidetracking our knowing of the origins of psychological illness.
Shorter additionally identifies the medical and cultural components that formed the advance of psychiatry. He unearths the forces in the back of the unparralleled sophisitication of psychiatry in Germany in the course of the eighteenth and 19th centuries in addition to the emergence of the USA because the international capital of psychoanalysis.

This engagingly written, completely researched, and fiercely partisan account is compelling interpreting for a person with a private, highbrow, or specialist curiosity in psychiatry.

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Extra info for A History of Psychiatry: From the Era of the Asylum to the Age of Prozac

Sample text

Similarly, cultural explanations and beliefs regarding health and illness tend to be more holistic than technobiomedical explanations, and the environment is taken more into account. In many alternative health care systems, in fact, health and healing are defined in ways that Conflicts and Crises in Latin America reduce distinctions between the health of individuals and the health of their environments (Hufford 1996). In this regard, the advances in medicine and our scientific understanding of illness have not erased Hippocratic teachings (Hippocrates 1988) that permeate many cultural health-related beliefs in Latin America.

The decision-making style in Arab culture might be best described as family centered. The moral, social, and psychological support for which extended families in developing countries are so well known is the result of collectivity of decision making, that is, decision making by consensus. An individual decision that differs from the collective decision leaves the decision maker to bear the responsibility of the outcome alone and may deprive him or her of familial support. On the other hand, when a collective decision is acted on, negative consequences of the decision are not the patient’s fault alone and he or she does not have to bear the guilt of making a wrong decision.

As Seguin (1986) wrote: “We negate faith in the name of rationality, and yet, we could not do this unless we had faith in rationality” (p. 129) (our translation). In Latin America, religious beliefs and attitudes permeate the way disease—defined as a structural or physiological deviation from the norm—is reinterpreted from the scientific discourse of the physician into a culture of acceptance of the illness—defined as the personal sense of being ill. Faith makes the patient accept the suffering with resignation; hope instills a sense that the cure is based not so much on the healer and the treatment prescribed but on the will of the Creator.

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A History of Psychiatry: From the Era of the Asylum to the Age of Prozac by Edward Shorter

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