Daniel X. Freedman was born August 17, 1921 in Crawfordsville, Indiana. While growing up, he was intrigued by reading Karl Menniger's The Human Mind, which kindled his life-long fascination with human behavior. He entered Harvard College in 1939 with the intention of studying the behavioral sciences.
Soon after Pearl Harbor, Freedman enlisted in the Army. He suffered an injury but continued to serve in the Army and distinguished himself as the seventh military clinical psychologist. His wartime accomplishments also included performing the first EEG for the Army, and conducting psychological tests at the Walter Reed Hospital.
In 1947, Freedman entered the Yale School of Medicine. Here he began to pursue research in areas such as psychosurgery, psychopharmacology, anxiety, autism, and schizophrenia. He worked extensively with schizophrenic patients and their families, and developed a particular interest in the clinical phenomena of psychosis, such as hallucinations. During this time, he spent a year at NIMH to research the effects of LSD on the brain and began his professional focus on the role of serotonin in brain function.
In 1966, Dr. Freedman left Yale to accept the position of Chairman of Psychiatry at the University of Chicago. Here he presented Anna Freud with her first US Honorary Degree. While at Chicago, he pioneered the establishment of drug abuse prevention programs and led biological studies in schizophrenia and depression.
In 1970, Dr. Freedman became Chief Editor of the AMA's Archives of General Psychiatry, perhaps the most respected psychiatric journal in the world. Under his editorial leadership, the Archives' policy elevated the quality of research in psychiatry and behavioral sciences.
Dr. Freedman became a part of the Research Task Panel when President Jimmy Carter established the President's Commission on Mental Health in 1977. The work of this Panel resulted in the passage of the Mental Health Systems Act of 1980. This act created a Federal and State partnership that provided for support services, community-based services, and prevention of unnecessary institutionalization. Their work also spurred the initiation of the Epidemiologic Cachement Area (ECA) Study, the first comprehensive examination of the prevalence of mental illnesses in the community.
In 1984, Dr. Freedman became the Judson Braun Professor of Psychiatry and Pharmacology at UCLA. While at NPI, he continued his psychopharmacology research, with an on-going emphasis on the role of serotonin in complex behavior. He served at times as the Director of the Neuropsychiatric Institute and Acting Chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences. The Daniel X. Freedman Memorial Lectureship was established to honor these lifelong achievements, and his contributions to the field of Psychiatry and to UCLA.