From the time of the ancient Greeks to the twenty-first century, the history of Western approaches towards ‘madness’ is a history of attempting to classify symptoms, name disorders, house the 'mad', care for the distressed, cure mental 'disease', and predict outcomes of ‘illnesses.’ This brief history looks at those approaches and the eras in which they predominated. This is a linear account of how we arrived at deinstitutionalisation of psychiatric hospitals and office-based psychiatry today in the West from our early beginnings dealing with ‘madness’ in Greek antiquity. Starting with the early work of Aristotle in ancient Greece and the 'mad cell' of the medieval era, this brief history takes us through the Enlightenment and on into the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Many of the cures mentioned seem cruel and foolish today but, in their day, they were firmly believed in. Each era builds upon the one before it as it struggles to discover the ‘truth’ about ‘madness’ and ‘deal with’ those who suffered from it through incarceration, restraint, medication and other forms of treatment. This brief history is suitable for readers who want a critical appraisal of society’s attempts in the West to deal with ‘madness’ as well as students of psychology, nursing, social work and the social sciences. It makes a point to concern itself with how well or badly people experiencing mental distressed were treated. References at the back lead the reader on to more in depth literature on the subject should they wish to pursue it further.
|File size:||750 KB|
About the Author
Dr Annie Southern was educated at Oxford University and has a PhD in health science from the University of Canterbury. Her doctorate looked at women's career experiences as they are affected by mental illness. She has worked in publishing as a magazine and book editor. She has also lived through the Canterbury earthquakes in New Zealand and has an interest in earthquake trauma. Her publications are available both as ebooks and print editions.