The Etiology of the Illnesses of the Psyche in the Hippocratic Texts

Niki Papavramidou

Abstract


The Hippocratic Corpus played a key role to the disengagement of illness from the divine element that was believed to be to cause of all illnesses and injuries. Especially for the illnesses of the psyche (some call it “self” or “soul”), the Hippocratic physicians managed to recognize their biological origin and to create a “primitive” nosological structure. The aim of this paper is to identify the etiological factors of the illnesses of the psyche, according to the Hippocratic authors and to correlate them to modern medical observations. The Hippocratic physicians enumerated certain etiological factors for the occurrence of the illnesses of the psyche: imbalance of the humours, injuries of the head, extreme emotions, along with environmental features that were supposed to favor the appearance of such illnesses, such as the climate, the quality of the water, the winds, etc.


Keywords: Hippocratic medicine; History of medicine; history of psychiatry; psyche

 


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