Between Sanity and Madness: Mental Illness from Ancient Greece to the Neuroscientific Era examines several perennial issues about mental illness: how different societies have distinguished mental disorders from normality; whether mental illnesses are similar to or different from organic conditions; and the ways in which different eras conceive of the causes of mental disorder. It begins with the earliest depictions of mental illness in Ancient Greek
literature, philosophy, and medicine and concludes with the portrayals found in modern neuroscience. In contrast to the tremendous advances other branches of medicine display in answering questions about the nature, causes, and treatments of physical diseases, current psychiatric knowledge about what qualities of
madness distinguish it from sanity, the resemblance of mental and physical pathologies, and the kinds of factors that lead people to become mentally ill does not show any steady growth or, arguably, much progress. The immense recent technological advances in brain science have not yet led to corresponding improvements in understandings of and explanations for mental illnesses. These perplexing phenomena remain almost as mysterious now as they were millennia ago.