Ever since Phillippe Pinel struck the chains from the insane in the Salpetriere during the French Revolution, psychiatry has been racked by dissent, confusion, and controversy. Even the origins of the word appear to reflect some of the fuzziness and lack of definition surrounding the specialty and its allied disciplines. Though psyche was used to indicate mind and thinking as early as the 17th century, it was not until 200 years later that it was used in the medical sense of studying and treating mental illness.
The Sydenham Lexicon of terms cited it as a medical specialty in 1846, and the following year it was included in Von Feuchtisleben's Medical Psychology.
Though the ambivalence and uncertainty surrounding psychiatry's infant years has abated to a large extent within the medical profession, psychiatry is under attack from without. Controversial issues, attracting demonstrators like a magnet, include psychosurgery and electroconvulsive therapy, while the