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Demonstrations in front of the parliament, Ljubljana, March 23 1993. Photo: Tone Stojko. © Muzej za novejšo zgodovino Slovenije [National Museum of Contemporary History], collection Tone Stojko, inv. n. TS19932303_22.

Researcher dr. Jelena Seferović wrote an overview of the book Psychiatric Topics for Non-Psychiatrists (and Psychiatrists), given her interest in the history of psychiatry and the consideration of the cultural and social context of the psychiatric profession. Book overview was published in December 2019 in the Croatian scientific journal Narodna umjetnost: hrvatski časopis za etnologiju i folkloristiku. The book was published in 2018 by the Croatian publishing house Medicinska zaklada and was the result of twenty-five years of scientific work by psychiatrist Vlado Jukić, full professor at the Faculty of Medicine Zagreb and former director of the Psychiatric Clinic Vrapče. Namely, from his rich oeuvre of professional and scientific papers, the author selected sixty-three in which he discussed topics that have not only a psychiatric connotation, but also a social one. Its purpose was to single out texts whose contents would be useful to psychiatrists and professionals from close professions. He embarked on the conceptualization of this book, also motivated by the idea of bringing psychiatric topics closer to the readership outside the narrow circle of psychiatric experts. For this occasion, he selected a series of works dating back to 1991, that is, from the beginning of the war in Croatia until 2017.

The book is divided into eight sections which are not equal in terms of the proportion of texts. The first part, called Historical Psychiatry Topics, brings together six of them in which Jukić elaborates on topics in the history of psychiatry. At the end of the discussion, he proposes concrete solutions that he believes would improve the situation in the organization of psychiatric hospital care in Croatia. In the second part of the book entitled Vrapče Hospital as a topic that is being considered outside psychiatry, the author examines the history of the name and activity of this hospital within four texts and discusses the changes related to its modernization. The third part of the book, entitled Forensic-Legal Aspect of Psychiatry, at the same time the most comprehensive because it brings together fourteen articles, was reserved for texts that problematize topics in the field of forensic psychiatry and psychiatric law. As part of the fourth part of the book, titled Ethical-Psychiatric Issues, the author discusses in detail ethical issues in psychiatric practice. He also discusses some unethical behaviors by doctors in the profession towards people with mental disorders and in the wider social environment. In the end, the author goes back to history,  to the communist era, and briefly provides basic information about the abuse of psychiatry for political purposes in the regime of the time. So, for the last “isolation” of politically unsuitable persons, he mentions 1987, the year of the Universiade. Psychiatry in the Homeland War is the title of the fifth part of the book, devoted to war psychiatry. The fifth part ends with a text in which, using its own notes dating from September 1991 and the documentation from that period stored in the Vrapče archive, he illuminates the act of evacuating three hundred psychiatric patients from the Psychiatric Hospital in Pakrac on the night of September 30, 1991. Particular emphasis in the sixth part of the book, entitled Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), is placed on the analysis of this psychiatric phenomenon. In the closing remarks of the last article of this chapter, the author states that in post-war Croatia, “ten percent of all psychiatric capacities are reserved for PTSD patients” and that for this reason, “PTSD has somehow become a public health problem”. In the seventh part of the book, within twelve texts, Jukić deals, as indicated by his title, Various Social Psychiatric Issues. Specifically, the author speaks, beginning with suicidal behavior in people with mental disorders, through the social and financial valorization of the psychiatric profession, to deliberating the misconceptions about the similarities and differences between psychotherapy and confession, and the reasons for the variability of theoretical paradigms in psychiatry. The latter touches, among other things, on the presence of Croatian psychiatrists in the artistic and / or literary scene, and in this sense, in a separate text, lists the names of psychiatrists and their literary works. Finally, the text, the second in a row, Spiritual Renewal of the Croatian People – Current Issues, has not been included in this section of the book, which has not been published until now. The eighth part of the book, titled  Psychiatric Topics for a Broad Audience, brings six news articles adapted to a wider readership. These are short, two to three pages, in which Jukić problematizes issues related to neurosis and bipolar affective disorder, then those concerning the use of anxiolytics in everyday psychiatric practice, and ultimately discusses sleep and addiction disorders. The last text of this book, consists of the author’s answers to the questions of the Večernji list readers that have been related not only to the field of psychiatry but also to other public health problems.


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