Historical context of mental health

  • Created by: livvvx
  • Created on: 04-03-19 20:06

Historical views of MI

Ancient world cultures -

  • Well known belief that MH - ''the result of supernatural phenomena'' this included phenomena such as ''demonic possession'', ''sorcery'' and ''the evil eye''.
  • Most commonly believed cause = demonic possession, this was treated by chipping a hole or ''trephine'' into the skull of the patient by which ''the evil spirtis would be released''
  • Egyptians recommended that those stricken with MI should participate in ''recreational activities'' in order to relieve sympotms.

Ancient Greece-

  • Hippocrates- first person to take a scientific approach to MI. According to this approach, Man's body consists of four humours; blood, phlegm, yellow and black bile. These make up the body and through them one feels illness or enjoys health.
  • If all humours are balanced then we are mentally healthy.
  • The main MI identified by H is depression - due to an excess of black bile.
  • This view led to a more humane treatment of the mentally ill, stressing the importance of pleasant surroundings, exercise and a good diet. Mind-Body Relationship
  • Lead to some unpleasant treatments e.g. bleeding and purging which continued unto the middle ages 

The Middle Ages-

  • Idea of 4 humours still around however, most believed 'madness' was due to demonic possesion in particular hysteria and epilepsy.
  • Many women with such illnesses, especially women, were deemed witched and were burned at the stake.
  • Asylums began to appear using 'medical' treatments such as purging, bleeding and cold bathing (immersion into extremely cold baths used as a treatment for schizophrenia into the 1950s)

18th Century onwards-

  • Asylums were run for profit as first, treatment was very poor and barbaric.
  • Madhouse Act 1774- introduction to licensing and inspectoin of 'madhouses'
  • Bethlem Royal Hospital- famous asylum

20th Century-

  • Finding that mental sympotoms could have a physical cause (i.e. discovery that syphilis causes delusions and hallucinations) led to the 'medical model' of MI.
  • The development of effective drugs to treat MD and chaning social attitudes, revolutionised care.
  • Today it is acknowledged that MI can be psychological as well as biological, care in the community became more common.

Defining abnormality

Statistical Infrequency-

  • Numerical measure e.g. SZ approx 1% of the population- doesn't land on the 'norm' of population.
  • Behaviour that is rarely seen in the general population can be considered abnormal. It is based on the idea that in measurable characteristics (e.g.anxiety, intelligence) most people's scores will group around a central avg. Scores much lower/higher suggest abnormality.

+- Objective- 1)helps us to address what is normal in the stats sense- helps make an obj ''cut off point'' useful for diagnosis. 2)Also doesn't make judgements about the acceptability of a behvaiour - it is rare not wrong.

--  1)The cut off points can be arbitrary- can be subjective to draw a line between behaviour that is frequent enough to be normal and rare enough to be abnormal. 2)Some abnormal behaviours are not statistically rare e.g. depression may affect up to 27% of elderly people and thus not statistically rare anymore yet still ''abnormal'', 3) doesn't

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