Happy Birthday Psychiatry

The 200th Anniversary of Psychiatry is upon us. The term ‘psychiatry’ was first created by Johann Reil, a german professor of medicine in 1808. There is an editorial on this by Andreas Marneros, in the latest British Journal of Psychiatry (Marneros, 2008). Reil wanted psychiatry to be recognised along with 2 other branches of medicine – surgery and general medicine. Even at the very inception of psychiatry, Reil saw many of the thematic problems in psychiatry. He requested measures to counter discrimination against those with a mental illness, identified the possibility of diminished responsibility and recgonised the importance of psychological therapies in treatment. Its a pity we can’t travel back in time to see that historic moment in 1808. Thanks Johann Reil for giving us psychiatry.


Marneros, A. Psychiatry’s 200th birthday. Editorial. The British Journal of Psychiatry. 2008. 193. No 1. pp1-3.


The comments made here represent the opinions of the author and do not represent the profession or any body/organisation. The comments made here are not meant as a source of medical advice and those seeking medical advice are advised to consult with their own doctor.

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