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History of Mental Illness and Treatment Ancient Theories • Widespread belief in supernatural and magical forces as cause of mental illness – Exorcism – removal of evil that resides in an individual, usually by counter-magic or prayer. • Trephination – Cutting a hole in the skull to remove pressure – Evidence that people considered illness organic Ancient Greece • Hippocrates – Looked to the brain as the explanation of our behavior • Egyptians had thought the heart was the core of mental life – Studied epilepsy, depression, psychosis, irrational fears, and hysteria. – Therapeutic techniques emphasized: • Rest, bathing, dieting – Hippocratic Oath – taken by doctors when they graduate from medical school Middle Ages Renaissance • During a time dominated by the Catholic Church, superstitious beliefs in devils and demons were very strong. – At the same time, Church charities often provided care for the mentally ill. • Idiot – inborn illness • Lunatic – mental disabilities not from birth Enlightenment (Age of Reason) • Reason and the scientific method finally replaced superstition as primary way of understanding the world. – Anton Mesmer • invention of hypnosis Late 1700s – 1800s • While research and treatment continued, society placed an emphasis on removal of the mentally ill, which gave rise to insane asylums. • Bedlam Hospital – after an investigation into the “madhouses of England,” Bedlam became the prototype of the injustices of mental hospitals. Restraints • “Straight Jacket” Restraints Emerging Treatments • Rocking Chair Therapy Reform Movement • Philippe Pinel – Moral Treatment – Kind treatment – -minimum or restraint • Benjamin Rush – Signer of the Declaration of Independence – Father of American Psychiatry • Dorothea Dix – Civil War nurse, campaigned against poor treatment of the mentally ill, especially restraints.
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