Psychiatry has a long past but a short history in Iran. References to causes and treatment of mental disorders can be found in parts of the Avesta, the holy book of pre-Islamic Iranians. Early muslim physicians like Tabari, Majusi, Razi and Ibn Sina, who were mostly born and brought up in Iran, have devoted long sections of their books to a discussion of mental disorders under the general title of ‘the diseases of the head and the brain’. In fact, the oldest medical textbook in modern Persian—which was completed around 970 A.D.—was written by a practising physician who claims to have been known as a ‘doctor of the insane’ by his contemporaries.
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