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There are immense distinctions between past and present mental health treatments, with modern society developing a more humane approach. But are there also similarities between them, the possibility of history repeating itself?

For a solution to be developed, a problem must first be recognized. No formula will be concocted unless a complication is established. This is the logical order of events. A drawback must first be experienced to push people into considering and creating an answer and way out.

Such a sequence is also why initially crafted solutions are rarely effective.

While these are left for the professionals to handle, they’re still typically in the dark with a never-before problem. It’s discovering a new problem and trying to find similarities with an existing case, hoping the same processes may be applicable. They formulate answers based only on existing knowledge but not on the specific problem at hand. Hence, they create resolutions from scratch without guaranteeing these will work out or be appropriate.

Emergence Of Mental Illness And Its Initial Treatments

With the many incidents coming and going in the past, it’s safe to assume that such a process has been religiously followed. Regardless of whether these affairs directly impact lives, people must gamble to reach a sound resolution. It’s the trade-off they must be willing to accept.

This is also reflected in the case of mental illnesses.

While a sensitive matter to address given its direct and immediate influence on people, past and present mental health treatments aren’t always guaranteed effective. They still undergo the classic trial and error procedure to ensure appropriate measures have been met.

Society treated individuals suffering from mental illnesses in a similar or even worse light than criminals. Without much background of these mental and psychological phenomena, society had initially only considered a way to keep them segregated and away from possible conflicts. Hence, they were imprisoned. Working without proper knowledge of their circumstances, they were subjected to experimentation, leading to likely torture and death in hopes of finding solutions to the issues.

Asylum Scandals by Patricia Lubeck details the harrowing history of how society perceived and approached mental health issues. It documents the treatments and torture procedures professionals have used to alleviate the patients’ burdens supposedly. From trepanation to lobotomies and electric shocks, patients had undergone medically-tagged cruelties.

Although questionable, these are what they came up with, given the limited information they had.

From these accounts, it can be derived that mental illnesses weren’t perceived as biological or psychological phenomena. Instead, they were observed as anomalies that needed physical interventions rather than medications and guided psychiatric treatments.

The Link Between Past And Present Mental Health Treatments

Learning about past treatments illuminates the progress society has made regarding mental illness.

With years of opportunities to study these, medical professionals have gradually become proficient in matters of the mind. Gone are the days when brutal and invasive treatments were even considered sufficient. Mental illnesses are treated with utmost consideration to the individual’s safety and comfort. However, while there’s a massive disparity between past and present mental health treatments, it doesn’t automatically label the other as entirely and indisputably humane.

While there’s a consequential improvement in how society now treats mental health issues, it doesn’t automatically make every procedure perfect.

Everything remains a learning opportunity, with how affairs and processes likewise remain dynamic. What supposedly works now may still be deemed inhumane years after. Who knows, people may have subconsciously overlooked possible ethical complications, rejoicing in the effectiveness of these treatments.

Modern procedures have been drafted and banked on past effectual treatments. These are molded after then-labeled inhumane treatments. Hence, while times have changed and people have become more considerate, it might still be beneficial to ask if modern-day treatments are humane.

The Subtlety Of Cruelty: Are Modern Treatments Inhumane?

There may be evident differences, but one can’t also help but observe some persisting patterns between past and present mental health treatments. One of the most apparent examples is the still-utilized shocks or electric currents used to treat some illnesses. While such procedures are now moderated compared to how they had been, one may still question whether they are genuinely humane.

Mental health mistreatment back then didn’t only consist of grave and cruel treatments. When people speak of the possible horrors in past and present mental health treatments, they don’t only focus on the physical manifestations of these barbaric processes. Instead, these can constitute fine-drawn details within the mental health systems.

Cruelty can include solitary confinement, which can be deemed prevalent in today’s society, with holding cells the standard and primary place of security for patients.

While they aren’t necessarily kept for days, only until they’re guaranteed safety for themselves, one can question whether this is truly necessary. Often, the indifference and the lack of treatment provided constitute the torture patients have undergone. This factor isn’t only evident for specific treatments. Instead, this is reflected in how society is willing to provide accessible help to everyone regardless of status and wealth.

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