Schizophrenia in 15th century Islamic medicine

There’s an interesting exchange in this month’s American Journal of Psychiatry where two researchers note that there is no mention of any condition that resembles schizophrenia in the key 15th century Islamic medical text Cerrahiyyetu‚Äôl-Haniyye (Imperial Surgery).

A reply highlights the fact that it may be because medicine was only practicised on people who volunteered for treatment, which is unlikely to include people who are floridly psychotic.

The exchange contains lots of historical information about how psychosis was understood in centuries past both socially, and by doctors of the time.

Islam has been incredibly important in the history of medicine and Islamic medical texts are rich sources for historians interested in the development of medical care.

Link to AJP letter ‘Absence of Schizophrenia in a 15th-Century Islamic Medical Textbook’.
Link to reply and commentary.

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