Posts Tagged ‘ Pinel ’

New issue – History of Psychiatry

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The second issue of 2017 of History of Psychiatry is now available and could be of interest to H-madness readers. The issue includes the following articles:

Philippe Huneman, From a religious view of madness to religious mania: the Encyclopédie, Pinel, Esquirol.

This paper focuses on the shift from a concept of insanity understood in terms of religion to another (as entertained by early psychiatry, especially in France) according to which it is believed that forms of madness tinged by religion are difficult to cure. The traditional religious view of madness, as exemplified by Pascal (inter alia), is first illustrated by entries from the Encyclopédie. Then the shift towards a medical view of madness, inspired by Vitalistic physiology, is mapped by entries taken from the same publication. Firmed up by Pinel, this shift caused the abandonment of the religious view. Esquirol considered religious mania to be a vestige from the past, but he also believed that mental conditions carrying a religious component were difficult to cure.

The debate on the causes and the nature of pellagra in Italy during the nineteenth century resembles and evokes the similar debate on General Paralysis of the Insane (GPI) that was growing at the same time in the United Kingdom. Pellagra and GPI had a massive and virulent impact on the populations of Italy and the UK, respectively, and contributed to a great extent to the increase and overcrowding of the asylum populations in these countries. This article compares the two illnesses by examining the features of their nosographic positioning, aetiology and pathogenesis. It also documents how doctors arrived at the diagnoses of the two diseases and how this affected their treatment.

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New issue of the Bulletin of the History of Medicine

The Fall issue of the Bulletin of the History of Medicine is accessible online. In this issue, you’ll find an article by Elizabeth A. Williams entitled Stomach and Psyche: Eating, Digestion, and Mental Illness in the Medicine of Philippe Pinel. The abstrac reads:

In premodern medicine eating and digestion were often linked to psychic disturbance, yet modern “mental medicine” is generally thought to have abandoned this ancient assumption. The work of Philippe Pinel, founder of French psychiatry and advocate of the “moral treatment,” has been regarded as indicative of this process, but in fact eating and digestion remained important to Pinel’s understanding of the néuroses, the variety of disease within which he classified both mild and severe forms of mental illness. Pinel’s theoretical and clinical innovations in regard to maladies that blended mental and gastric distress left an important legacy both to asylum-based psychiatry and to medical generalists working in private settings in the nineteenth century. Today his work remains valuable for its insistence on the inextricability of the “physical and the moral” in psycho-gastric illness.

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