He studied medicine in Limoges and Paris, and subsequently became Chef de clinique under Jean-Martin Charcot (1825–1893) at the Salpêtrière. In 1900 he became a professor of psychiatry, and in 1904 established the department of psychiatry at Hôtel-Dieu de Paris. In 1909 he succeeded Alix Joffroy as chair of clinical psychiatry and brain disorders at the Hôpital Sainte-Anne.
Ballet is remembered for his 1903 publication of Traité de pathologie mentale, which remained a principal reference book on psychiatry for nearly fifty years in France. In 1911 Ballet described a disorder he called psychose hallucinatoire chronique, being defined as chronic delirium that consists primarily of hallucinations. In French psychiatry, "chronic hallucinatory psychosis" was to become classified as a distinct entity, separate from other self-delusional disorders.
Among his other works were an 1897 treatise on hypochondria and paranoia titled Psychoses et affections nerveuses, and an historical biography on philosopher Emanuel Swedenborg ("Swedenborg; histoire d'un visionnaire aux XVIIIe siècle"). With Adrien Proust, he published L'Hygiène du neurasthénique, a book that was later translated into English and published as "The Treatment of Neurasthenia".
- Parts of this article are based on a translation of an equivalent article at the French Wikipedia.
- Gilbert Ballet @ Who Named It
- Notice biographique Histoire de la psychiatrie en France
- Notice bio-bibliographique at Biu Santé
- Schizophrenia edited by Steven R. Hirsch, Daniel R. Weinberger
- A Historical Dictionary of Psychiatry by Edward Shorter
- Gilbert Ballet - bibliography at Who Named It
- The treatment of neurasthenia HathiTrust Digital Library
- Elaine A. Moore (1 October 2003). Thyroid Eye Disease: Understanding Graves' Ophthalmopathy. Trafford Publishing. pp. 32–. ISBN 978-1-4120-0911-9. Retrieved 30 April 2012.