Insanity disorders had been recognized within the purview of philosophers, theologians, and physicians since the 17th century.
Records show that by the mid-1600, there were already private mental health facilities in existence, although back in the day, they were more like madhouses – some prisons for those considered insane.
By the late 18th century, a significant shift took place; around this time, the state began to take responsibility for the treatment and care of the mentally ill.
It was the century of enlightenment. People began to question society at large and implement a scientific approach to just about everything, including mental health – the belief that evil spirits caused troubled minds was seen as superstition.
The development was rapid that in the first years of the 19th century, psychiatry emerged as a medical discipline in western countries.
Hospitals or “asylums” for the mentally ill were established, although treatment methods were not necessarily based on proper psychiatric diagnoses.
Patients admitted to asylums were generally thought to have suffered from moral failure or degradation, and therefore treatment methods included a range of punishments and restraints. In the 19th century, in mental asylums, patients were often abused instead.
10 /10 First In The United States
The Quakers first established an organized effort to provide care and treatment for the mentally ill in Philadelphia.
Rooms in the newly-opened Pennsylvania Hospital basement had shackles attached to the walls and were specially built for mentally ill patients.
The increasing number of patients led to the birth of Pennsylvania Hospital for the Insane, established in 1856 in a suburb of Philadelphia. The hospital remained open (albeit under different names) until 142 years later.
By 1890, every state had at least one asylum; each expanded in size as the population increased.
9 /10 Purging And Mercury
Published in 1812 in Philadelphia, the Medical Inquiries and Observations upon Diseases of the Mind was regarded as the first systematic textbook on mental diseases in America.
It was written by Benjamin Rush, also known as “The Father of American Psychiatry.”
Rush, who received medical training and a medical degree in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1978, believed that irritation of the blood vessels in the brain was the culprit of mental diseases.
He suggested several treatment methods, including purging, bleeding, exposure to mercury, and hot and cold baths. He also invented the tranquilizer chair to slow down the fluid movement of agitated patients.