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Specialty in psychiatry can be traced in Ancient India. The oldest texts on psychiatry include the ayurvedic text, Charaka Samhita.[1][2] Some of the first hospitals for curing mental illness were established during the 3rd century BCE.[3]

During the 5th century BCE, mental disorders, especially those with psychotic traits, were considered supernatural in origin,[4] a view which existed throughout ancient Greece and Rome.[4] The beginning of psychiatry as a medical specialty is dated to the middle of the nineteenth century,[5] although one may trace its germination to the late eighteenth century.

Some of the early manuals about mental disorders were created by the Greeks.[5] In the 4th century BCE, Hippocrates theorized that physiological abnormalities may be the root of mental disorders.[4] In 4th- to 5th-century BCE Greece, Hippocrates wrote that he visited Democritus and found him in his garden cutting open animals. Democritus explained that he was attempting to discover the cause of madness and melancholy. Hippocrates praised his work. Democritus had with him a book on madness and melancholy.[6]

Religious leaders often turned to versions of exorcism to treat mental disorders, often utilizing methods that many consider to be cruel and/or barbaric.[4]

Middle Ages

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