Where Mental Health Came From
The causes of mental illness are a complex mix of genetics, how your brain works, how you grew up, your environment, your social group and your life experience.
In medieval times, people often believed that mentally ill individuals had supernatural powers or were being controlled by spirits. These harmful ideas were used to silence and control those with mental health issues.
The Middle Ages
The mental ill were treated in a variety of ways during the Middle Ages. Some of the treatments included trephination which is a technique that involves drilling a hole in a person’s skull to let evil spirits out of their body.
Early medicine men believed that the mentally ill were possessed by demons, so they tried to cure them using mystic methods. These techniques were often brutal and sometimes the mentally ill died.
People were either confined to their homes and forced to live in misery or they were sent out into the countryside to face death. These illnesses were considered a stigma for many years and people did not treat them with respect or care as they would other slaves.
The Renaissance brought with it a new way of thinking about mental health and illness. Previously, people viewed mental disorders as evidence of sorcery, demonic possession, witchcraft, and astrological influences.
This view was exacerbated by a religious belief that all mental disorders were the work of evil spirits, and they should be punished. Often, this led to societal removal of the mentally ill from their families and communities.
This was done through a wide range of methods, from torture to exorcisms. During this time, there was also a large amount of misinformation about mental illness.
The Age of Enlightenment
During the Age of Enlightenment, a time of great reflection and questioning, people began to understand more about mental health. As a result, changes in the way that society was treated the mentally ill started to occur.
This included the establishment of hospitals and asylums that housed and confined people with mental illnesses. These institutions were often inhumane and brutal, with chains and shackles being used to incarcerate patients.
In response to the harsh treatment of psychiatric patients, people began to advocate for more kindly and compassionate treatment. French physician Philippe Pinel, for example, introduced what is now called “traitement moral” at La Bicetre and the Salpetriere hospital in Paris.
The Age of Terror
In the Age of Terror, there is little question that a lot of fear and uncertainty has become a part of Western societies. This is especially true in the aftermath of September 11, which saw a brutal and traumatic attack that changed the way Westerners thought about conflict.
Terrorism is a form of political violence that is used by a wide variety of actors to achieve specific goals and objectives. It is a method that has been incorporated by ethno-nationalist and separatist movements, radical left-wing groups and religious fanatics, among others.
The Age of Psychiatry
Psychiatry is a field that deals with the causes of mental health issues, the effects they have on an individual’s life and the treatment options available. It can involve medication, psychotherapy or a combination of both.
The most common form of treatment is psychotherapy, a technique that helps an individual understand their condition and how to cope with it. It’s a powerful way to change the structure and functioning of the brain, which can help alleviate symptoms.
Before the Age of Psychiatry, people who had mental health issues often received invasive treatments that could include surgery. These treatments often had a negative impact on the lives of those who suffered from them. They also shut out mentally ill people from society. These practices led to a lot of mistreatment and even deaths in the past.