Historical Perspective

  • Kostas N. Fountoulakis


The history of mood disorders and specifically of bipolar disorder (BD) is dated as back as 3000 BC in ancient Egypt, when depression and bipolarity were mentioned in Ebers papyrus (book of the heart; Fig. 1.1) but described as heart diseases, not mental disorders. In most contemporary societies, mental illness was attributed to magical forces, malevolent deities or demons, and ‘treatment’ was exercised by priests in the form of religious or magical rituals. Hippocrates (460–370 BC; Fig. 1.2), Galen (131–201 AD; Fig. 1.3) and Aretaeus of Cappadocia (Fig. 1.4) were the first to describe manic–depressive illness as mental illnesses.


Uric Acid Bipolar Disorder Lithium Treatment Depressed Affect Manic Affect 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kostas N. Fountoulakis
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Neurosciences 3rd Department of PsychiatryAristotle University of Thessaloniki School of MedicineThessalonikiGreece

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