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By Cheryl Winning Ghinassi

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When an individual was free of mental disturbance, the soul would be in good health. The Asclepians In Greek mythology, Asclepius was the son of Apollo and was designated as the god of medicine. The cult that built up around him followed the teachings of Pythagoras and founded temple-based hospitals based on compassionate healing traditions. A stay at one of these temples provided relaxation and healthful living based on nutrition, exercise, and restful sleep. Priests provided suggestions for care of the soul (the beginning of psychotherapy) and sought Anxiety through the Ages: Prehistory to the 1800s 13 to engender a positive attitude toward recovery.

He viewed the psychological process of burying undesirable memories, impulses, and conflicts as something engaged in by all humans and defined the resulting perspectives and behaviors as defense mechanisms against anxiety, threat, and psychic pain. He saw the defense mechanisms as adaptive strategies, albeit often self-defeating ones. A key defense mechanism that Freud identified is repression, in which traumatic memories are buried in the unconscious. This process requires considerable energy, and it generates much anxiety and ultimately leads to neuroses.

In 1864, German chemist and Nobel Prize winner Adolf von Baeyer (1835– 1917) developed barbituric acid, the key component of barbiturate compounds. Barbiturates are central nervous system depressants and sedative-hypnotics that induce a relaxed state; they were used for the treatment of anxiety and insomnia in the first half of the twentieth century. They replaced opiates, bromide salts, and chloral hydrate for these purposes. In addition, barbiturates have anticonvulsant properties and are still prescribed for the treatment of seizure disorders.

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