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Searching for schizophrenia in ancient Greek and Roman literature: a systematic review.
OBJECTIVEThe aim of this study was to systematically examine ancient Roman and Greek texts to identify descriptions of schizophrenia and related disorders.
METHODMaterial 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.
RESULTSThe 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.
CONCLUSIONIn 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.
School of Nursing, Griffith University, Nathan, Australia. email@example.com,
Acta psychiatrica Scandinavica 107:5 2003 May pg 323-30
Medicine in Literature
Terminology as Topic
Pub Type(s)Historical Article