Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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(2,069 words)

1. Definition

The term psychiatry (from Greek psychḗ, “soul,” “mind,” and iatrós, “physician”) was coined in 1808 as a Greek neologism by Johann Christian Reil, a physician in Halle (originally Psychiaterie [4]; [5]; [12]), in the sense of the art or science of healing the soul or mind. Until well into the 19th century, the term also included a broad spectrum of neurological illnesses such as epilepsy and St. Vitus’ dance (Huntington’s chore…

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Eckart, Wolfgang Uwe, “Psychiatry”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 29 May 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_COM_026049>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20210107

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