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ARTICLE
Year : 2002  |  Volume : 44  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 165-169

Psychiatric Thoughts in the Tamil Culture


Ex-Superintendent-Institute of Mental Health, Chennai, Formerly Professor A Head, Department of Psychiatry, Madras Medical College, Chennai, India

Correspondence Address:
O Somasundaram
30, 23RD cross street, Thanigaiillam, Besant Nagar, Chennai-600090
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


PMID: 21206563

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The significance of psychiatric thoughts in Tamil culture is brought forth with relevant historical and literary evidences: psycho-physiological aspects of emotions, descriptions of severely disturbed individuals, attitude of the society towards the mentally ill and epigraphic material describing hospital care of psychiatric patients in the first millennium are alluded. These references unravel the advanced psychiatric medical knowledge in the Ancient Tamil system of Medicine namely the Siddha system. The mythical origin of Siddha Medicine, attributes of the Siddhars (knowledgeable persons) and short biographical notes of eminent siddhars like Agathiyar, Bogar, Therayar and Thirumoolar are cited. Ancient theories of etiopathogenesis, namely the Panchaboothas and Tridoshas are detailed. Agathiyar's deschptions, classification and treatment of mental illnesses and Yogi Siddhar's contribution to psychiatry require significant mentioning. Siddha system has proved its potential effect by displaying promising results in treating HIV and Hepatitis-B. Likewise the author encourages similar discoveries in Siddha Medicine with relevance to psychiatry.



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