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    Mental Health Treatment: Then and Now

    Mental Health Treatment: Then and Now

    Mental Health Treatment: Then and Now What you’ll learn to do: describe the treatment of mental health disorders over time

    It was once believed that people with psychological disorders, or those exhibiting strange behavior, were possessed by demons. These people were forced to take part in exorcisms, were imprisoned, or executed. Later, asylums were built to house the mentally ill, but the patients received little to no treatment, and many of the methods used were cruel. Philippe Pinel and Dorothea Dix argued for more humane treatment of people with psychological disorders. In the mid-1960s, the deinstitutionalization movement gained support and asylums were closed, enabling people with mental illness to return home and receive treatment in their own communities. Some did go to their family homes, but many became homeless due to a lack of resources and support mechanisms.

    Today, instead of asylums, there are psychiatric hospitals run by state governments and local community hospitals, with the emphasis on short-term stays. However, most people suffering from mental illness are not hospitalized. A person suffering symptoms could speak with a primary care physician, who most likely would refer him to someone who specializes in therapy. The person can receive outpatient mental health services from a variety of sources, including psychologists, psychiatrists, marriage and family therapists, school counselors, clinical social workers, and religious personnel. These therapy sessions would be covered through insurance, government funds, or private (self) pay.

    LEARNING OBJECTIVES

    Explain how people with psychological disorders have been treated throughout the ages and discuss deinstitutionalization

    Describe the ways in which mental health services are delivered today, including the distinction between voluntary and involuntary treatment

    Figure 1. This painting by Francisco Goya, called The Madhouse, depicts a mental asylum and its inhabitants in the early 1800s. It portrays those with psychological disorders as victims.

    Mental Health Treatment In The Past

    For much of history, the mentally ill have been treated very poorly. It was believed that mental illness was caused by demonic possession, witchcraft, or an angry god (Szasz, 1960). For example, in medieval times, abnormal behaviors were viewed as a sign that a person was possessed by demons. If someone was considered to be possessed, there were several forms of treatment to release spirits from the individual. The most common treatment was exorcism, often conducted by priests or other religious figures: Incantations and prayers were said over the person’s body, and she may have been given some medicinal drinks. Another form of treatment for extreme cases of mental illness was trephining: A small hole was made in the afflicted individual’s skull to release spirits from the body. Most people treated in this manner died. In addition to exorcism and trephining, other practices involved execution or imprisonment of people with psychological disorders. Still others were left to be homeless beggars. Generally speaking, most people who exhibited strange behaviors were greatly misunderstood and treated cruelly. The prevailing theory of psychopathology in earlier history was the idea that mental illness was the result of demonic possession by either an evil spirit or an evil god because early beliefs incorrectly attributed all unexplainable phenomena to deities deemed either good or evil.

    From the late 1400s to the late 1600s, a common belief perpetuated by some religious organizations was that some people made pacts with the devil and committed horrible acts, such as eating babies (Blumberg, 2007). These people were considered to be witches and were tried and condemned by courts—they were often burned at the stake. Worldwide, it is estimated that tens of thousands of mentally ill people were killed after being accused of being witches or under the influence of witchcraft (Hemphill, 1966)

    By the 18th century, people who were considered odd and unusual were placed in asylums. Asylums were the first institutions created for the specific purpose of housing people with psychological disorders, but the focus was ostracizing them from society rather than treating their disorders. Often these people were kept in windowless dungeons, beaten, chained to their beds, and had little to no contact with caregivers.

    In the late 1700s, a French physician, Philippe Pinel, argued for more humane treatment of the mentally ill. He suggested that they be unchained and talked to, and that’s just what he did for patients at La Salpêtrière in Paris in 1795 (Figure 2). Patients benefited from this more humane treatment, and many were able to leave the hospital.

    Figure 2. This painting by Tony Robert-Fleury depicts Dr. Philippe Pinel ordering the removal of chains from patients at the Salpêtrière asylum in Paris.

    Source : courses.lumenlearning.com

    13.1 Mental Health Treatment: Past & Present – Introductory Psychology

    13.1 MENTAL HEALTH TREATMENT: PAST & PRESENT

    Learning Objectives

    By the end of this section, you will be able to:

    Explain how people with psychological disorders have been treated throughout the ages

    Discuss deinstitutionalization

    Discuss the ways in which mental health services are delivered today

    Distinguish between voluntary and involuntary treatment

    Before we explore some of the approaches used in therapy today, let’s begin by looking at how many people experience mental illness and how many receive treatment. According to the National Institute of Mental Health ([NIMH], 2017), 18.3% of civilian, non-institutionalized U.S. adults experienced any mental illness in 2016. Of those, 4.2% experienced serious mental illness, defined as mental illness that causes serious functional impairment and interferes with major life activities. Rates of mental illness in general and serious mental illness in particular tended to be higher among young people aged 18-25. Additionally, about half (49.5%) of adolescents had a history of any mental disorder, and of these individuals, about 22.2% experienced severe impairment. More recent figures show that about 1 in 5 Americans or 43.8 million people each year experiences mental illness (NAMI, 2018)

    With many different treatment options available, approximately how many people receive mental health treatment per year? Of adults with any mental illness, only 43.1% received treatments that included counseling or prescription medications for a mental health concern (NIMH, 2017). Rates of treatment were somewhat higher among those with serious mental illness (64.8%); however, young adults with serious mental illness had much lower rates of treatment compared with other age groups (51.5%).  Can you think of any reasons for the discrepancies between rates of illness and treatment among different age groups?

    Considering the many forms of treatment for mental health disorders available today, how did these forms of treatment emerge? Let’s take a look at the history of mental health treatment from the past (with some questionable approaches in light of modern understanding of mental illness) to where we are today.

    TREATMENT IN THE PAST

    For much of history, the mentally ill have been treated very poorly. It was believed that mental illness was caused by demonic possession, witchcraft, or an angry god (Szasz, 1960). For example, in medieval times, abnormal behaviors were viewed as a sign that a person was possessed by demons. If someone was considered to be possessed, there were several forms of treatment to release spirits from the individual. The most common treatment was exorcism, often conducted by priests or other religious figures. Incantations and prayers were said over the person’s body, and she may have been given some medicinal drinks. Another form of treatment for extreme cases of mental illness was trephining: A small hole was made in the afflicted individual’s skull to release spirits from the body. Most people treated in this manner died. In addition to exorcism and trephining, other practices involved execution or imprisonment of people with psychological disorders. Still others were left to be homeless beggars. Generally speaking, most people who exhibited strange behaviors were greatly misunderstood and treated cruelly. The prevailing theory of psychopathology in earlier history was the idea that mental illness was the result of demonic possession by either an evil spirit or an evil god because early beliefs incorrectly attributed all unexplainable phenomena to deities deemed either good or evil.

    From the late 1400s to the late 1600s, a common belief perpetuated by some religious organizations was that some people made pacts with the devil and committed horrible acts, such as eating babies (Blumberg, 2007). These people were considered to be witches and were tried and condemned by courts—they were often burned at the stake. Worldwide, it is estimated that tens of thousands of mentally ill people were killed after being accused of being witches or under the influence of witchcraft (Hemphill, 1966).

    By the 18th century, people who were considered odd and unusual were placed in asylums. Asylums were the first institutions created for the specific purpose of housing people with psychological disorders, but the focus was ostracizing them from society rather than treating their disorders. Often these people were kept in windowless dungeons, beaten, chained to their beds, and had little to no contact with caregivers.

    This painting by Francisco Goya, called The Madhouse, depicts a mental asylum and its inhabitants in the early 1800s. It portrays those with psychological disorders as victims.

    In the late 1700s, a French physician, Philippe Pinel, argued for more humane treatment of the mentally ill. He suggested that they be unchained and talked to, and that’s just what he did for patients at La Salpêtrière in Paris in 1795. Patients benefited from this more humane treatment, and many were able to leave the hospital.

    This painting by Tony Robert-Fleury depicts Dr. Philippe Pinel ordering the removal of chains from patients at the Salpêtrière asylum in Paris.

    Source : opentext.wsu.edu

    Chapter 16

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    In the past it was believed that mental illness was caused by

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    demonic possession, witchcraft, or an angry god

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    If someone was considered to be possessed, there were several forms of treatment to release spirits from the individual:

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    Textbook solutions for this set

    Psychology: Principles in Practice

    1st Edition Spencer A. Rathus 1,024 explanations

    Myers' Psychology for the AP Course

    3rd Edition David G Myers 955 explanations

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    Terms in this set (47)

    In the past it was believed that mental illness was caused by

    demonic possession, witchcraft, or an angry god

    If someone was considered to be possessed, there were several forms of treatment to release spirits from the individual:

    - Exorcism - Trephining - Execution - Imprisonment Trephining

    A small hole was made in the afflicted individual's skull to release spirits from the body. Most people treated in this manner died

    Asylums

    the first institutions created for the specific purpose of housing people with psychological disorders, but the focus was ostracizing them from society rather than treating their disorders

    What was done with people in the 18th century who were considered odd and unusual?

    They were placed in asylums

    Philippe Pinel

    A French physician who argued for more humane treatment of the mentally ill

    Dorothea Dix

    led reform efforts for mental health care in the United States in the 19th century

    Whose efforts lead to the creation of the first mental asylums in the US?

    Dorothea Dix

    antipsychotic medications

    These proved a tremendous help in controlling the symptoms of certain psychological disorders, such as psychosis

    Psychosis

    a common diagnosis of individuals in mental hospitals, and it was often evidenced by symptoms like hallucinations and delusions, indicating a loss of contact with reality

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    Verified answer QUESTION

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