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Searching for schizophrenia in ancient Greek and Roman literature: a systematic review.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was to systematically examine ancient Roman and Greek texts to identify descriptions of schizophrenia and related disorders.

METHOD

Material from Greek and Roman literature dating from the 5th Century BC to the beginning of the 2nd Century AD was systematically reviewed for symptoms of mental illness. DSM IV criteria were applied in order to identify material related to schizophrenia and related disorders.

RESULTS

The general public had an awareness of psychotic disorders, because the symptoms were described in works of fiction and in historical accounts of malingering. There were isolated instances of text related to psychotic symptoms in the residents of ancient Rome and Greece, but no written material describing a condition that would meet modern diagnostic criteria for schizophrenia.

CONCLUSION

In contrast to many other psychiatric disorders that are represented in ancient Greek and Roman literature, there were no descriptions of individuals with schizophrenia in the material assessed in this review.

Links

  • Publisher Full Text
  • Authors+Show Affiliations

    ,

    School of Nursing, Griffith University, Nathan, Australia. k.evans@mailbox.gu.edu.au

    ,

    Source

    Acta psychiatrica Scandinavica 107:5 2003 May pg 323-30

    MeSH

    Bipolar Disorder
    Depressive Disorder
    Greek World
    History, Ancient
    Humans
    Medicine in Literature
    Psychotic Disorders
    Roman World
    Schizophrenia
    Terminology as Topic

    Pub Type(s)

    Historical Article
    Journal Article
    Review

    Language

    eng

    PubMed ID

    12752027