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Dr. Raşit Tahsin (Tugsavul), known as the founder of the psychiatry in Turkey, published his book “Seriyat-ı Akliye Dersleri” in 1336 (1920). In the foreword, Dr. Tugsavul, notes that his book consists of courses about mental diseases he’s been giving in faculty of medicine since 1312 (1906). Today there are different views on the classification of melancholia which is one of the first known diseases in history. The study aims to discover the psychiatric knowledge and practices at the beginning of the twentieth century Ottoman medicine by analyzing the subjects related with melancholia in the book.The subjects related with the classification of mental disorders and melancholia translated from Ottoman Turkish to Modern Turkish. The subjects about melancholia were evaluated by the knowledge of psychiatry in the same period and compared to DSM-5 diagnostic criteria. Melancholia was classified under the title of manic-depressive disorders in a group apart from the dementia praecox. According to Dr. Tugsavul weakness of memory, anxiety, excessive guilt and diminished willpower are main symptoms of illness. Illusion, hallucination and delirium are the other symptoms discussed. Inpatient treatment, warm bath, isolation and medications are recommended. The topics related with definition, symptoms and treatment of melancholia reflects the knowledge of modern psychiatry of its time. Definition and symptoms of melancholia were consistent with DSM-5 criteria for major depressive disorder. Out of three cases in the “manic-depressive psychosis” chapter of the book, two of them respond to the melancholy criterion of major depressive disorder. The third case only meets criteria of the major depression with psychotic features.

Psychiatry, education, depression, history, Ottoman Empire


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