Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko
The past was a very tumultuous time for mental health, leading to the many ghastly insane asylum treatments.
Author Patricia Lubeck wrote her book titled Asylum Scandals, which reveals the story of abuse, torture, corruption, and murder. She dives deep into the atrocities of Minnesota’s state hospitals and what they did to their patients. Asylum Scandals offers an authentic look into the truths behind the walls.
We are incredibly fortunate to live in today’s time, where medical professionals take mental health seriously. The “hocus pocus” and unethical practices have long been abolished. So, are you curious about some of these horrible treatments?
Continue scrolling to discover seven terrifying asylum treatments from Christmas past.
Trephination, which dates back more than 7,000 years, represents one of the earliest mental health treatments ever used. During the surgery, a section of the skull was removed after making a hole with a bore, augur, or saw.
This practice is thought to have been used to treat mental diseases, headaches, and possibly demonic possession. Within the fifth century BCE, physicians practicing under Hippocrates felt that sluggish blood in the brain might “spoil” and needed to be evacuated. Even though patients seldom made it through the procedure or the subsequent infections.
Although the medications used to treat mental health disorders today have undergone testing and are safe, this wasn’t always the case. Doctors have historically utilized addictive and risky medicines to treat mental health issues. Mania was treated with highly deadly mercury, and morphine and opium were considered universal cures.
A surgical technique called a lobotomy is intended to treat mental illnesses, but it ended up being a horrible way to treat mental issues. In order to treat a patient’s ailment and change their behavior, the procedure aims to cut connections in the brain’s prefrontal cortex.
Portuguese neurologist António Egas Moniz developed the treatment for which Moniz received a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. However, lobotomy has long generated debate because of its unreliable, dangerous outcomes. After surgery, many individuals’ behavior, personality, cognition, and motor abilities would change permanently.
In Patricia Lubeck’s book, lobotomy was a prevalent element in the story of abuse, torture, corruption, and murder that she uncovered. Lobotomy has a long history of being one of the most notorious insane asylum treatments.
4. Metrazol Shock Therapy
Shock therapy was developed by Hungarian pathologist Ladislas von Meduna in 1934. He reasoned that since schizophrenia was uncommon in epileptics and epileptics frequently feel better following a seizure, triggering seizures in a person with schizophrenia might assist them to calm down.
Metrazol was the seizure-inducing medicine of choice for Meduna. However, the treatment proved quite risky and ineffective. It was discovered in 1939 that 43% of patients who underwent metrazol shock therapy experienced a vertebral fracture.
5. Purging and Bloodletting
An old method of healing called bloodletting and purging gained popularity again in the 1600s. According to the ancient Greek physician Claudius Galen, all illnesses and diseases were caused by a disproportion of humors (substances) in the body.
He proposed that vomiting, bloodletting, and purging may treat physical and mental illnesses by rebalancing the body’s substances. English physician Thomas Willis discovered Galen’s theory in the 1600s and chose to apply it to patients with mental health issues.
Thomas initially applied these therapies to mentally ill patients, but as word spread, it was also recommended for physical diseases.
6. Asylums and Isolation
With the intention of isolating persons with learning disabilities and mental health illnesses from society, asylums have a long history extending back to the Middle Ages.
People with mental illnesses were frequently forcibly admitted into asylums. Although it was claimed that these individuals were put in asylums for treatment, this was often done so that families could conceal embarrassing relatives. Due to their learning problems, the royal family committed two of Queen Elizabeth’s first cousins in 1941.
Some outdated insane asylum procedures have made it through into culture. The design of the straitjacket forces the wearer’s arms tightly against their torso. The purpose of the shackles was to soothe the patient and motivate them to “behave correctly,” but the effectiveness was dubious.
So there you have it, folks. Those were seven of the ghastliest insane asylum treatments in history. If you wish to know more honest and powerful facts revealed about asylums, purchase Asylum Scandals by Patricia Lubeck today!
Prepare yourself to read a story of abuse, torture, corruption, and murder that happened behind the thick walls of Minnesota’s state hospitals!