Development of American Military
Psychiatry, in one form or another, is as old as human beings. In its most basic form it emerged at the precise moment one human being attempted to help another deal with personal anguish. People have always faced many of the personal tragedies--death of a child, loss of a spouse, fear of the unknown, and an awareness of one's own mortality--that modern people face, and there is every reason to believe that they suffered from the same pain and anguish in dealing with these problems that we do. Moreover, early human understanding of the environment and human behavior was so inexact that people resorted to religion to deal with fears and ignorance. The first shamans earned their keep within primitive societies by providing explanations and rituals that enabled people to deal with their environment and personal anguish. Early people, no less than we, dealt with forces that they could not understand or control and attempted to come to grips with their vulnerability in much the same way we do, by trying to bring some order to their universe. Those who could interpret and explain that universe in whatever terms were the precursors of our psychiatrists.
Psychiatry is a different discipline from psychology although the differences are becoming increasingly narrow. Psychiatrists have historically been defined as "healers of the mind" while psychologists are defined as "those who studied the mind." This distinction, based in the difference between medical doctors who treated mental illness and scholars who studied it, has become less useful in the modern era, especially in military psychiatry, as psychologists have carved out a significant role as clinicians treating those suffering from emotional problems. Traditionally, psychiatry was closely tied to the general practice of medicine and the discipline of psy-