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From Madness to Mental Health

From Madness to Mental Health: Psychiatric Disorder and Its Treatment in Western Civilization

Edited by Greg Eghigian
Copyright Date: 2010
Published by: Rutgers University Press
Pages: 480
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  • Book Info
    From Madness to Mental Health
    Book Description:

    From Madness to Mental Healthneither glorifies nor denigrates the contributions of psychiatry, clinical psychology, and psychotherapy, but rather considers how mental disorders have historically challenged the ways in which human beings have understood and valued their bodies, minds, and souls.

    Greg Eghigian has compiled a unique anthology of readings, from ancient times to the present, that includes Hippocrates; Julian of Norwich'sRevelations of Divine Love,penned in the 1390s; Dorothea Dix; Aaron T. Beck; Carl Rogers; and others, culled from religious texts, clinical case studies, memoirs, academic lectures, hospital and government records, legal and medical treatises, and art collections. Incorporating historical experiences of medical practitioners and those deemed mentally ill,From Madness to Mental Healthalso includes an updated bibliography of first-person narratives on mental illness compiled by Gail A. Hornstein.

    eISBN: 978-0-8135-4909-5
    Subjects: Health Sciences

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-6)

    More than perhaps any other set of human afflictions, the phenomena that have gone under the names of “madness,” “insanity,” “lunacy,” and “mental illness” have historically provoked a wide variety of often contradictory reactions. Those who have been in the throes of “madness” have described experiences ranging from enjoying an ecstatic sense of holiness to being beset by undeniable impulses to having feelings of unending despair. Observers have sought explanations for the behavior of “touched” and “crazy” individuals by invoking such things as sin, destiny, heredity, moral degeneracy, upbringing, trauma, fatigue, and body chemistry. Those afflicted have been admired, pitied,...

  6. Part I The Pneumatic Age

    • [Part I Introduction]
      (pp. 7-9)

      From ancient times until well into the eighteenth century, observers, victims, and healers of madness most often understood and treated it as both a physical and metaphysical malady. This was because it was widely believed that human rationality, passions, and desires had at once somatic and spiritual dimensions. In ancient Greece, for instance, Plato held that different kinds ofpsyche, or “soul,” animated organs such as the brain, liver, and heart, while Aristotle equatedpsychewith the very workings of organs. Meanwhile, physicians generally accepted that the human body was composed of the four “humors” of blood, phlegm, yellow bile,...

    • The Ancient World
      (pp. 10-46)

      Saul was the first king of Israel, reigning between roughly 1020 and 1000 b.c.e. Comparatively little is known about his reign, though he was renowned for leading the Israelites in war against their enemies the Philistines. The Bible devotes a great deal of time to recounting Saul’s jealousy of and conflict with his son-in-law and future successor, David. The extent to which the account in Samuel is accurate is, at the very least, difficult to assess. From the standpoint of the history of madness, however, the story of Saul’s erratic behavior and his volatile relationship with David provides a glimpse...

    • Medieval and Early Modern Europe
      (pp. 47-90)

      Rufus of Ephesus (first century c.e.) was an ancient physician who authored an influential two-volume work on the causes, symptoms, and treatment of melancholia. The work is lost and is now known only from citations in other works. But it was disseminated in Arabic translation throughout the Middle Ages. Rufus’s method can be seen in the cases that are reproduced in the ninth-century Arabic textbook of Sarābiyūn Ibn Ibrāhīm. Among those who relied heavily on his understanding of the affliction was the famous Greek physician Galen. There is good evidence to suggest it was Rufus who was responsible for locating...

  7. Part II The Age of Optimism

    • [Part II Introduction]
      (pp. 91-93)

      While ancient, medieval, and early modern healers were far from passive in their treatment of the mad, during this time there was a degree of acceptance that incurable madnesses were a fact of human existence, that the world would never rid itself of the affliction. This viewpoint began to be challenged, however, in the eighteenth century. The intellectual movement known as the Enlightenment (1730–1800)—stressing a faith in the inherent equality of men (while typically excluding women), the end of deference to traditional authorities, confidence in the power of reason, and trust in scientific and social progress—inspired generations...

    • Enlightenment, Romanticism, and Reform
      (pp. 94-133)

      In overturning the old, feudal order, the French Revolution (1789–1799) opened up leadership positions to a new class and generation of eager men and women schooled in Enlightenment thought. One such individual was the physician Philippe Pinel. Born into a family of doctors, Pinel had long criticized the traditional Paris Faculty of Medicine for being insular and elitist, and he had been unafraid of expressing his reformist ideas and leanings. After the revolution, as the new government began reorganizing hospitals, poorhouses, prisons, and schools, Pinel was recruited, in 1792, to serve as chief physician at the Bicêtre Hospital in...

    • The Asylum
      (pp. 134-167)

      Beginning in November 1850, the patients at the Utica State Lunatic Asylum in upstate New York began writing, editing, and publishing a monthly newsletter, theOpal. Dedicating their effort to “usefulness,” patients and ex-patients were given remarkable license to pen essays, poems, and reflections. Proceeds from subscriptions were used to stock the patient library collection. The monthly was eventually discontinued in 1860. Since theOpalwas directed at readers both inside and outside the asylum, its stories and articles provide a glimpse into not only how patients viewed insanity and themselves, but also how they perceived staff, treatment, and the...

    • Brain Science, Nerves, and Clinical Psychiatry
      (pp. 168-228)

      Although today it is often dismissed as little more than quackery, phrenology—the study of the shape and size of crania and how these relate to character attributes—was a serious discipline in the nineteenth century and a precursor to the field of neurology. Its founder, the Badenese anatomist and physician Franz Joseph Gall (1758–1828), observed brain-damaged patients and came to the conclusion that specific aptitudes, inclinations, and faculties were associated with certain parts of the brain, which, in turn, left peculiar traces on the skull.

      Phrenologists, however, not only were involved in research. They practiced as itinerant lecturers,...

  8. Part III The Militant Age

    • [Part III Introduction]
      (pp. 229-232)

      By the turn of the twentieth century, many were questioning the optimistic outlook that had been voiced in the nineteenth century. The precipitous increase in the asylum population, the apparent emergence of new nervous disorders, and the often disappointing results of therapies led some to fear that, instead of progressing, public health was on the decline. This perception of decline encouraged countless public figures to express the view that Western civilization itself was in a state of degeneration, caught up in a process of atavistic devolution. The carnage of World War I (1914–1918), which brought about unprecedented loss of...

    • War and Neurosis
      (pp. 233-244)

      Although hysteria was long associated with girls and young women, French and German clinicians during the last third of the nineteenth century began recognizing the increasing prevalence of the illness in men. In particular, industrial workers of all kinds complained of a variety of nervous ailments for which there was no apparent organic lesion. In Germany, these functional illnesses earned the name “traumatic neuroses” and were generally believed to be caused by jarring shocks to the nervous system. The fact that large numbers of workmen used this diagnosis to claim social insurance benefits, however, made many policymakers, companies, and physicians...

    • The New Focus on the Body
      (pp. 245-293)

      Hydrotherapy—the use of water to treat ailments—dates back to ancient times. By the end of the nineteenth century, it was enjoying something of renaissance and had become a staple in the psychiatric treatment of disorders. Among the most prominent applications of hydrotherapy at the time were two regimens. The first was the continuous bath, by which the patient was fastened in a hammock, placed in a tub, then covered with a canvas sheet that allowed his or her head to remain exposed. The tub was then filled with water of varying temperatures, with the treatment lasting hours or...

    • Psychiatric Eugenics in Nazi Germany
      (pp. 294-311)

      Adolf Hitler (1889–1945) and the Nazi Party borrowed heavily from earlier racist and eugenic thinkers. Social Darwinism and eugenics advocates had begun to consider what they believed to be the racial implications of natural selection already in the nineteenth century. In Germany, Alfred Ploetz (1860–1940) and Wilhelm Schallmayer (1857–1919) developed the idea of “race hygiene,” a program calling for the use of science, medicine, and public policy to promote what they considered to be racial health. And in 1921, Erwin Baur (1875–1933), Eugen Fischer (1874–1967), and Fritz Lenz publishedOutline of Human Genetics and Race...

    • Mental Illness, Psychiatry, and Communism
      (pp. 312-332)

      The experience of hallucination (perceiving someone or something that is really not there) has long been recognized in Western society as a characteristic feature of mental disorder. While ethno-psychiatrists and historians have noted some striking similarities in the form that hallucinations have assumed over history, it is also clear that the content of psychotic experiences differs across societies and time periods. The following is an excerpt from a letter written by a German woman, Thea H. (her name has been changed to protect her identity), to her doctors in the spring of 1949, shortly after she was checked into the...

    • Antipsychiatry, Social Psychiatry, and Deinstitutionalization
      (pp. 333-368)

      Frantz Fanon, the son of an upper-middle-class Indian Martinican father and an Alsatian mother, was born and raised on the Caribbean island of Martinique. It was in Martinique, a French colony until 1946, that Fanon first became conscious of the ways in which a colonial setting shaped people’s identities. In 1947, he went to France, studying psychiatry in Lyon. Working there, he became concerned about the numerous North African migrant workers he encountered who complained of a variety of seemingly inexplicable ailments. In 1953, he arrived in Algeria, then a French colony, to better understand the limits of European medicine...

  9. PART IV The Psychoboom
    (pp. 369-420)

    In the decades following World War II, the fields of psychiatry, clinical psychology, and psychotherapy experienced unprecedented growth. In the United States, membership in the American Psychological Association grew from 2,739 in 1940, to 30,839 in 1970, to around 75,000 by 1993, while membership in the American Psychiatric Association rose from 2,423 to 18,407 between 1940 and 1970. A similar trend took place in Central Europe, where membership in the German Psychological Society went from around 2,500 in 1961 to 20,000 in 1984 and more than 40,000 by 1996. These numbers reflect the fact that, throughout the Western world over...

  10. Appendix: Bibliography of First-Person Narratives of Madness in English (Fourth Edition)
    (pp. 421-452)
    Gail A. Hornstein
  11. Index
    (pp. 453-456)
  12. Back Matter
    (pp. 457-457)