chapter  10
16 Pages

Treatment in Psychiatry

It is common to distinguish between causal and symptomatic therapies. A therapy is considered causal if the known etiology of an illness is being treated and symptomatic if its manifestations are the objects of the treatment process. Since the etiologies of the most important psychiatric illnesses have remained basically unknown, the symptomatic therapies are the best available in present-day psychiatry. These are psychotherapy, behavior therapy, and the physical therapies (including pharmacotherapy). Psychotherapy refers to the method of treating the mentally ill by psychological means (Unger) or without physical means (Lehmann). In psychotherapy, thus, by using "suggested emotions," the tone of the cerebral cortex is altered. This in turn exerts a control over the entire organism. The aim of psychotherapy is to remove the factors that have functionally weakened the cerebral cortex and to contribute to raising the general tone of the cortex.