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World J Psychiatr. Jun 22, 2014; 4(2): 37-41
Published online Jun 22, 2014. doi: 10.5498/wjp.v4.i2.37
Melancholia in medieval Persian literature: The view of Hidayat of Al-Akhawayni
Behnam Dalfardi, Hassan Yarmohammadi, Ahmad Ghanizadeh
Behnam Dalfardi, Hassan Yarmohammadi, Student Research Committee, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz 7139748479, Iran
Behnam Dalfardi, Hassan Yarmohammadi, Research Office for the History of Persian Medicine, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz 7139748479, Iran
Ahmad Ghanizadeh, Research Center for Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Hafez Hospital, Shiraz 3478671946, Iran
Author contributions: Dalfardi B, Yarmohammadi H and Ghanizadeh A contributed to this work; Dalfardi B, Yarmohammadi H and Ghanizadeh A designed the study; Dalfardi B and Yarmohammadi H reviewed Hidayat of Al-Akhawayni; Ghanizadeh A compared Al-Akhawayni’s statements to modern medicine; Dalfardi B, Yarmohammadi H and Ghanizadeh A wrote the paper.
Correspondence to: Hassan Yarmohammadi, MD, Student Research Committee, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Neshat Street, Shiraz 7139748479, Iran. yarmohammadihassan@yahoo.com
Telephone: +98-917-3365275 Fax: +98-711-2122970
Received: January 3, 2014
Revised: February 27, 2014
Accepted: May 16, 2014
Published online: June 22, 2014
Abstract

“Melancholia” seems to be the oldest term used to describe the manifestations of depression. Throughout the history of medicine, melancholia has been the focus of consideration of many scholars who have provided varying definitions of this disorder and its manifestations. This continual process has resulted in the gradual development of the concept of melancholia over time. Persian scholars were among the scientists who have studied the melancholia and contributed to its concept. One figure, Al-Akhawayni Bukhari (?-983 AD), a Persian physician whose reputation was based on the treatment of patients with mental problems, investigated this disorder. He described Melancholia and explained its clinical manifestations and treatment methods. Al-Akhawayni provided an early classification of the patients suffering from this disorder. Since the medieval Persian concept of melancholia is not well-known, this paper aims to review Al-Akhawayni’s 10th century knowledge on melancholia which can represent the early concept of this disorder in the Near East.

Keywords: Al-Akhawayni, Bipolar disorder, Conversion disorder, Depression, Melancholia, Persian, Personality disorders, Psychiatry

Core tip: The 10th century Persian scholar, Al-Akhawayni Bukhari (?-983 AD), investigated melancholia and described its diagnostic and management methods. His explanations provide a good evidence for the early concept of this disorder in the Near East, a matter which has remained mainly neglected up to the current time.