Historical views and treatment::Insanity


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Historical views and treatment Madness, the non-legal word for insanity, has been recognized throughout history in every known society. Primitive cultures turned to witch doctors or shamans to apply magic, herbal mixtures, or folk medicine to rid deranged persons of evil spirits or bizarre behavior, for example.<ref>Weinstein, Raymond M. (2007) "madness" in George Ritzer (ed.) The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology, Blackwell Publishing, 2007, pp. 2693-2695</ref> Archaeologists have unearthed skulls (at least 7000 years old) that have small round holes bored in them using flint tools. It has been conjectured that the subject may have been thought to have been possessed by devils which the holes would allow to escape.<ref>Porter, Roy (2002) Madness-A Brief History, Oxford University Press, 2002, p.10, ISBN 0-19-280266-6</ref> However, more recent research on the historical practice of trepanning supports the hypothesis that this procedure was medical in nature and intended as means of treating cranial trauma.<ref>{{#invoke:Citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=journal }}</ref>

Ancient Greece

The Greeks replaced concepts of the supernatural with a secular view, believing that afflictions of the mind did not differ from diseases of the body. They saw mental and physical illness as a result of natural causes and an imbalance in bodily humors. Hippocrates frequently wrote that an excess of black bile resulted in irrational thinking and behavior.<ref>Weinstein 2007, p. 2693</ref>

Goya's Madhouse, 1812-1819

Ancient Rome

Romans made further contributions to psychiatry, in particular the precursor to contemporary practice. They put forth the idea that strong emotions could lead to bodily ailments, the basis of today’s theory of psychosomatic illness. The Romans also supported humane treatment of the mentally ill, and to support such codified into law the principle of insanity as a mitigation of responsibility for criminal acts,<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref> although the criterion for insanity was sharply set as the defendant had to be found "non compos mentis", a term meaning with "not sound of mind".<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref>

From the Middle Ages forward

The Middle Ages, however, witnessed the end of the progressive ideas of the Greeks and Romans.{{ safesubst:#invoke:Unsubst||$N=Clarify |date=__DATE__ |$B= }}

During the 18th century, the French and the British introduced humane treatment of the clinically insane,<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref> though the criteria for diagnosis and placement in an asylum were considerably looser than today, often including such conditions as Speech disorder, speech impediments, epilepsy and depression.

Europe's oldest asylum is the Bethlem Royal Hospital of London, also known as Bedlam, which began admitting the mentally ill in 1403. The first American asylum was built in Williamsburg, Virginia, circa 1773. Before the 19th century these hospitals were used to isolate the mentally ill or the socially ostracized from society rather than cure them or maintain their health. Pictures from this era portrayed patients bound with rope or chains, often to beds or walls, or restrained in straitjackets.

Insanity sections
Intro  Historical views and treatment   In medicine   Legal use of the term  Feigned insanity  References  External links  

Historical views and treatment
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