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History of Psychiatry 

In 1812, Benjamin Rush, M.D., a signer of the Declaration of Independence, published the first psychiatric textbook in the United States, Inquiries and Observations on Diseases of the Mind. Almost two decades later, Dorothea Dix, a Boston school teacher, visited a jail and found mentally ill people confined in inhumane conditions. Over the next fifty years, she successfully persuaded state legislatures to appropriate funds to build mental hospitals.

In 1844, superintendents drawn from the existing mental hospitals met to share their experiences, cooperate in collecting statistical information, and assist each other in improving the treatment of the mentally ill. This group eventually became the American Psychiatric Association.

As a medical specialty that spans the humanities and natural sciences, psychiatry has sought to integrate different and often conflicting theories about how the mind works. Scientific research, psychological insight, advances in technology, and social and economic pressures have shaped the field into what it is today.

Books on the History of Psychiatry

American Psychiatric Publishing (APPI), a division of the American Psychiatric Association, publishes books about the scientific, social, and professional aspects of psychiatric history, written by those who contributed to and experienced it.

The American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology: Looking Back and Moving AheadThe American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology: Looking Back and Moving Ahead reviews the Board’s history and evolution, describes the role of certification within the subspecialties, explains the current status of the ABPN’s programs, and explores future directions
Science and Psychiatry, Groundbreaking Discoveries in Molecular NeuroscienceScience and Psychiatry, Groundbreaking Discoveries in Molecular Neuroscience is a collection of scientific papers by written by a pioneer in the study of receptors for neurotransmitters and the actions of psychotropic agents, which revolutionized the modern study of the brain.
Changing American Psychiatry: A Personal PerspectiveChanging American Psychiatry: A Personal Perspective is a personal account of the history of the intellectual conflicts and changes in the field of psychiatry in the post-war era, culminating in the remedicalization of psychiatry and the development of the DSM-III.

View a complete list of books related to the history of psychiatry.