Insane Asylums in the 19th and 20th Century

Conclusion Questions (Jordyn)

by on Feb.24, 2014, under Uncategorized

I started this topic out knowing that the patients were treated like dirt and had terrible operations done to them, and I thought it was a rather intriguing subject. What I didn’t consider was who came up with these outrageous treatments and if they were influenced by religion. Honestly, if I could continue this topic, I would want to research if these cures were influenced by religion. I think they would be because most of these operations mentioned “letting the demons out of the mind” or some garbage like that. My thinking didn’t really change much during my research on this project, but i really did enjoy researching this topic. Insane asylums have always held my interest.

I learned that living in an asylum was awful and the people there were treated like poo. It clicked that this topic and women’s rights topic were a lot similar because most women were sent to insane asylums by men and most of them, if not all, were not even certifiably insane. This happened because the women didn’t have rights, even to their own mental health. I also learned that children were sent to these hellholes for being a little different. It was awful and they did some terrible operations on the patients as well, digging around in other people’s heads (literally), electrocuting them, and other awful things.

My biggest “AHHA” moment that struck my curiosity to the core in this research project would probably be who came up with these crazy methods to cure people? And maybe did priests/ministers come up with these operations? I am convinced that most of these operations had something to do with religion. During my research on these operations, I came across the sayings  “inner demons”  or “devils” and so on. Now, a non-religious person might say there are no such things as demons, whereas a religious person might say there are demons. So I guess it all just depends on perspective.

Curating is much more personal and creative than just gathering research. I honestly quite like putting my opinion on information I find because it gives me a chance to speak my mind on what I thought about the info. It’s more interesting to read about what other people thought about the information than just reading the information yourself. It gives it more of a kick I guess. Maybe you have a strong opinion about something, but another person has a totally different output that changes the way you think. It may put a debate in your hands, or it may change your opinion totally.

I think we had a lot of successes in our blog, but we didn’t manage to get all of the research we wanted to done. We were able to get cures for the illnesses, who came up with some of these cures, we got some pictures in there, we discussed lobotomy and electro shock therapy a bit, we got the living conditions of the facilities, how the patients were treated, we all got our thoughts on the info out, and why people were admitted into these asylums. We weren’t, however, able to do a few specific posts, like why women -specifically- were treated so badly, why people -in general- were treated so badly in the asylums, and if the operations involved any religious ceremonies and such.

I don’t really see this project helping me with future research projects in the future, but it may help if I ever needed to organize my thoughts on my research or if I needed to do another group research project. If I could do this project over again, my group and I would probably change strategies by everyone researching and doing their own blog post, or maybe we wouldn’t change it and I would continue to type up whatever information they came up with. Depends on what my group agrees on.

I learned that I think on what first pops into my head, and if I dwell on that thought, then two more pop up. It may just be because I have the attention span of a squirrel and jump from topic to topic fluently. This project made me think that learning was kinda fun because the topic actually interests me, I found it easier to pay a bit more attention to what I was doing. The whole reason I didn’t do my Donner Party Assessment yet, is because I can’t focus enough on doing it because the event is just uninteresting to me. I’d rather be doing science homework, which is saying something, because, ew, who likes science. But I felt intrigued by this project, and social studies was my favorite class while we were in the lab doing this project. All in all though, it made me think learning about the past might not be as dreadful as it typically is.

I doubt that I’ll do a blog like this again, but I could definitely see myself running some sort of nerd blog. However, the future is unpredictable and maybe I’ll find some subject that strikes my interest and I’ll become a nerd with a blog. Maybe I’ll run a blog on Greek mythology, or pythegrium therum or the laws of science or whatnot. I don’t think I’d have time to keep up with a blog, unless it was on books. That wouldn’t be a problem what so ever.

I learned that using the web for research and technology for this project, I get more done typing than I do writing, and it’s more efficient than writing too. My fingers work faster at pushing buttons than they do holding and scribbling with a pencil.

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Conclusion Questions (Jenny)

by on Feb.24, 2014, under Uncategorized

I started out thinking about my topic, that is was gonna be interesting because there all sorts of questions I was thinking about on my topic. My thinking changed because it was way more interesting than I thought. what i learned about my topic is that women were not treated fairly in insane asylums. The connections i made to other topics is that not everyone got treated as fairly as they should have. My ah-ha moment I had was when I couldn’t think of what to search for to add to our post that we were working on. If i were to go on with the research i would look up what people would do if a women had a baby.

I learned that curating is where you actually have to think about what your writing and also when you put you feelings and emotions in about what your writing and collecting research your not allowed to put you emotions and feelings in to the writing, and you don’t pay as much attention to what your writing. My successes was when actually found something that could go with the topic of our post, my failures were when I didn’t work hard enough and we didn’t finish our posts for the day. If i could do this project over again i would change some of my strategies. I can see this project helping me in future researching projects because i can curate my work and also know what to look for in a website for my my research.

What I learned that technology during this research project is that it can be helpful because you wouldn’t find as much information about one subject in a book but with technology you can. I can see my self using this blog in the future if i have another project involving this subject. What i learned about how i think is that I can process more information than i think. this project changed the way i thing about learning because everyone can learn in any way that in comfortable for them.


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conclusion questions (Meghan Hernandez)

by on Feb.24, 2014, under Uncategorized

I honestly did not think that patients would not get treated like crud in insane asylums. I thought that they would get amazing treatment because they are crazy/mental. Also I did not think that people would be admitted into asylums for the stupid reasons that they were. My thinking has changed a lot. I know now that people were admitted into  insane asylums for stupid reasons, go treated like crud and were no even crazed. Our topic is kinda related to Women’s rights. It is because women were treated badly in insane asylums and when women did not have rights they got treated so badly I cant even believe it. I literally said AHHA in my head when I read the article on Dr. Rush. I have heard of him in the Yellow Fever book my class read in school. He is a nut job! He likes to bleed people, because apparently it will heal them. I did not know that he had something to do with insane asylums. It doesn’t surprise me that he did have something to do with insane asylums. I don’t like going to doctors, but if he was my doctor, I would rather be sick then go to him. I would wan to research more on why people were admitted. I would want to find out why people would put them in insane asylums, to get rid of them? If they wanted to get rid of them why not kick them out? Or put them some where else.


Curating is more creative than gathering research. Curating is more fun and helps me learn easier than gathering research and putting it into a paragraph. Our successes were getting a lot done in a class period and having a lot of information. Our failures were getting our perspectives on every topic. We might not have our perspective on all the posts. If i redid this project one person would be doing the typing (someone fast) and the other people gathering information. If I ever do a project on insane asylums, this will help me very much. By I will know doctors in insane asylums and the treatments.

I learned that i could make a blog with no trouble at all on the internet. I can see me making another blog. It might come on handy in high school. I learned I am more of a visual learner. It was easier to learn from pictures for me. This project changed my learning from gathering information online to curating it more often. This project was fun and an amazing experience.

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Who came up with these treatments?

by on Feb.21, 2014, under Uncategorized

Dr. Benjamin Rush created the Tranquilizing Chair. Belief back then was that craziness or madness was an arterial disorder. Or an inflammation of the brain. The idea was to control blood flow to the confined patients brain. He was going to achieve this by lowering motor activity, or reducing muscular action. Both his inventions did harm or any good to the patients. Rush also believed that purging or bleeding patients to cure any illness or disorder. Rush used this in the Yellow Fever also. Dr. Kirkbride had a less painful way of treating his patients. Dr. Kirkbride split up each group of people into separate parts of the asylum. As in women in one hall and men in the other. The more hyper patients would be away from the main entrance. The calmer and well behaved patients would be located closer to the entrance. His idea was that patients needed more of a natrual environment with people like them. He let them get daylight and fresh air. Patients worked on farms and did house chores. Most doctors were catholic, that is why they believed in the demo possession.  On the more dark side a lot of insane asylum doctors did not follow Dr. Kirkbride’s lead.


(Meghan’s Perspective) OK, Dr. Rush i have heard of him before, he is totally CRAZY! He needs to go to an insane asylum himself. His theory on the chair was a good idea, it could of worked. I would of believed it. Now Dr. Kirkbride, he seemed like he knew what he was doing. I would rather go to his asylum than any other. Now people back then did not know what we do. So they believed on their religion like the whole demon thing. If i was alive that is what i would resort to. So that makes sense to me. It is still crazy!


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What were the cures for their illnesses?

by on Feb.20, 2014, under Uncategorized

Rotary Chair was one method, the electric chair, and even solitary confinement. The electric chair was used for patients with depression. Doctors in asylums believed that if they gave a shock to the brain it would fix you right up. Nope, they were wrong. Patients were put in solitary confinement for having suicidal thoughts or actions. They were put in a white room with padded walls and floors, so they cant hurt themselves or others. Treatments for schizophrenia included giving patients insulin until they passed out or went into a state of shock. Some were gave sugary tea, to revive them. The doctors believed that schizophrenia was caused by high or  low blood sugar. Or circulatory problems. Doctors also drilled holes in patients skulls to release the “demon” spirits. Dr. Benjamin Rush was the first one that thought that mental illness was a disease of the mind and not “demon possession”. He created theories that mental illness was caused by inflammation of the brain. He made the Tranquilizing Chair that was supposed to control the blood flow to the brain; which essentially did nothing to cure patients. He also believed that bleeding and purging patients was a good cure too.


(Meghan’s perspective) Did these people have brains? These methods are so stupid, how did they come up with these? They don’t even make sense. How would a shock to the brain fix them? Wouldn’t a shock to the brain make things worse? O it did, it made things a lot worse. The solitary confinement makes sense to me. If you don’t want people to hurt anyone or themselves the best thing is to put them by themselves. For schizophrenia, doctors gave them insulin until they passed out. How would this help? They had a good idea that it was caused by low blood sugar. I would believe that. The doctors that drilled holes into their skulls are CRAZY! How would they like to get holes drilled into their skulls with nothing to cure the pain or cause of infection? How would this release anything other than a lot of pain for the patient? Have those doctors ever been depressed? Would the use the electric shock or chair to heal themselves? Would they use these methods on men? Or just women? Because women had no rights then. First people are their for no apparent reason, then they can get illnesses and possibly die, which is probably not a bad thing for most, girls get rapped and have kids, they cant stay with their child, and then they get painful treatment for their so called “mental illness.” WOW I cant believe this.

(Jenny’s perspective) Did these people ever think? These treatments could kill patients! For crying out loud shock chairs i mean who uses those? This makes me sick! I mean solitary confinement did they really think that would work?  also what makes me really mad is the doctors drilled holes in patients skulls THAT’S CRAZY! How could they cure the pain or if they get an infection what would the doctors do about it? I mean this just ticks me off to see people treated this way!

(Jordyn’s Perspective) I think these methods are totally nuts. Who came up with these methods other than Dr. Benjamin Rush? Some doctor he was; bleeding and purging patients. He was wasting his time and making matters of the patient worse. Nowadays, bleeding and purging yourself are legitimate mental disorders. But back to the main question, who came up with these crazy theories? Were these methods thought of because of religion? These so-called “demons” were apparently inside of people, making them crazy…Sounds like some kind of Christian thing to me. It could be a reasonable theory because Christianity was (still is) the main religion of the United States. So maybe these cures were all thought of by Christian doctors thinking they were possessed by demons.


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by on Feb.20, 2014, under Uncategorized


Here we have a picture of some doctors looking at an xray of a human brain. They are looking for the part of the brain that is making the patient “crazy” so they can operate. Lobotomy is a surgery of the brain. It consists of cutting or scraping away most of the connections to and from the anterior of the brain (Wikipedia). This procedure came with many side effects and was a very dangerous operation to perform. The thought behind this operation was that if you could remove the “crazy” part of the brain, it would make the patient sane.

(Jordyn’s Perspective) I think that this operation is just plain outrageous and disgusting. Call me crazy, but I think that digging in and removing parts of other peoples brain is nasty and very personal. (I think it’s highly personal because) The brain is one of the most important organs in your entire body, without it, our bodies wouldn’t be able to function and we’d all die. Besides, why do you think we have skulls? To protect our brain from exactly this situation. BUT I think that this operation would’ve probably made perfect sense during the time period it was popular. I mean, I probably would’ve agreed that removing the crazy part of the brain to make everyone sane was a brilliant idea. But looking back at it now, in 2014, it sickens me that people were so clueless as to what they were actually doing back then; that they were doing more harm to the patient than good.

(Meghan’s Perspective) Ya these doctors look like they have no clue what they are doing or even looking at. They almost look confused, like, “Hmm so this is a brain?”  Do they even know what part of the brain to take out? What if they take out an important part? Then we got serious problems.I would defiantly not want these people playing around with my brain.

 (Jenny’s perspective Do these doctors even know what part of the brain they are looking for? I think for them to do brain surgery is gross and (like Jordyn said) its seemed like a good idea in that time period but know in 2014 its gross! did they ever think it might make the patient actually crazy?  I mean who would want these guys near their brains? I sure wounldn’t

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Electro Shock Therapy

by on Feb.20, 2014, under Uncategorized

electro shock therapy

Here, we have an image of a patient  of the Karl-Bonhoeffer-Nevenklinik getting some electro shock therapy in the 1930s.

(Jordyn’s Perspective) While I was looking more into this image, I noticed that the source i got it never gave us the information about why he was being given this kind of therapy. So it got into my head, why would they be giving him electro shock therapy? What led the doctors into thinking that this would help cure a mental disorder of any type? What were the typical illnesses that were “treated” with electro shock therapy? As I took a closer look at this image, I noticed how much pain and fear are etched into his face. Look closely at his mouth. See the item he is biting down on? It could’ve been put there for many reasons, one would be to bite down on when they shocked him to “help with the pain”. Another reason for it being there probably would’ve been for the technicality of the shock. If you have even been to the dentist’s office to get some x-rays, they put a piece of plastic in your mouth to separate your jaw from the rest of your head. My guess is that the same idea applies with electro shock therapy since they both use some type of electro shock, even if they are for two totally different uses. I can’t imagine what kind of pain this would cause. It irritates me that people would use this to “treat” mental illnesses, I mean, what kind of person sees a mentally ill person and says, “Hey! I have a great idea! Let’s attempt cure this crazy person by sending high voltages of electricity into their brain!” It makes me even more angry when you realize that most of these poor people weren’t even crazy.

(Meghan’s perspective) This kinda scares me. Who came up with the idea of sending a high electric SHOCK through someones BRAIN? Then he has something with a rope going through it in his mouth. Wont that get effected by the electricity? Would these shocks effect the rest of their body? I cant imagine the pain these people are felling at this point.

(Jenny’s perspective) Why would someone come up with electric shock therapy? Its crazy! I mean I don’t even know what to say about this. i cant even imagine what they went through. the pain must have been bad if they have something in their mouth!

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Conditions of the Patients in Insane Asylums.

by on Feb.20, 2014, under Uncategorized

Although insane asylums may look nice on the outside, it’s a living hell on the inside. People admitted were starved, beaten and raped. The living conditions were horrid, the health of the patients were in terrible conditions, making it hard to live in such a place. Patients were subjected to ice baths as well as beatings, they were also enslaved to the facility. They were chained and shackled to be sure that they wouldn’t harm themselves or other patients. The women were also raped by the employees because they were “crazy”. Since health standards were so bad, infection and illness spread quickly, killing many patients who were not treated medically.

They probably thought that since all these people were “crazy” that they didn’t count as legitimate people. They probably considered them to be crazed beasts and that they should be treated like animals. Thus being the reason of why these facilities were so unclean and why people were beaten, raped, etc.


(Meghan’s perspective) This is the worst thing ever! I can’t believe this. First off, most people in insane asylums don’t even need to be there, they are not even CRAZY!! Then they are in there and don’t get treated like humans. They get the worst treatment ever. This makes me mad, people (mostly women) get put in their for depression, being a little different, and even not following rules. In the asylum they get raped, beat, forced to freeze in an ice bath. They are not even being treated like humans, they are like hopeless animals. What did they ever do to get treated like dirt?

(Jordyn’s Perspective) I think this information is gross. Ew, no sanitation is gross. It lets disease and infection and icky-ness inside the asylum and kills off innocent people. These people died because of others carelessness to keep the building clean. It’s unacceptable and outrageous. If you owned an insane asylum, wouldn’t you want it to be the best instead of some dumpy un-sanitized old building?  These conditions are terrible for living in and what they did to the women was worse. Just because someone has been given the label of crazy doesn’t mean you have the right to beat people up whenever you feel like it. THAT would be a mental disorder in itself because that means you would have an anger management problem. So technically the people that treated the patients like wild animals (like Meghan said) should be in the asylum themselves. The things that went on inside of some of these asylums could be considered as torture. I’m sure most of them were cruel and unusual punishments which broke the law of not being allowed to give cruel and unusual punishments, therefor, everybody who did thus should’ve been arrested. This information ticks me off so much that I can’t even speak of it without getting enraged all over again. I feel pity for the people that were admitted to any of this, it’s a truly awful thing to go through.

(Jenny’s perspective) This information makes me sick. to see people who didn’t have anything wrong with them? I mean to be in a non sanitary place that’s gross! Also, to be beaten and raped, that’s not right at all! for crying out loud the conditions of the asylum are not safe for people to be in! They even get beatings and put in ice baths I mean does any of this sound right for people to be treated this way? This makes me furious to see people treated this way! The way they were treated makes them sound like wild animals (Like Meghan and Jordyn said). Women were even raped by staff members because they were “crazy”. Doesn’t this sound wrong to you. it sure does to me. The patients health was so bad many often died! Like I said at the beginning this makes me sick to see people treated this way!

“Insane Asylums in the 1800s: Life in the Inside.” Yahoo Contributor Network. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Feb. 2014.

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Why were people admitted to Insane Asylums?

by on Feb.12, 2014, under Uncategorized

In the 1800s, mainly daughters and wives were admitted into the insane asylums because they were not obedient enough towards their husbands or fathers. If a woman spoke out or acted outside the “norm”, she would be committed. When children were admitted, most families would tell others that the child had died.  Some children were admitted for unwanted pregnancies, disobedience or illness, such as Down’s Syndrome or Autism. Typically, the husbands would put their wives in the asylum and then file for divorce. Some of the other reasons why people were put into insane asylums was for depression, alcoholism, or just being a little different than normal, or sometimes, even going through menopause. Doctors didn’t know what to do with all the “crazy” people, thus being the reason of being put into the insane asylums. Almost all people admitted into the asylums stayed until they died. Women did not have rights to their own mental health, therefor putting men in charge of whether or not they were admitted into the insane asylums. Sometimes people were admitted, not to be cured, but so that the public could be assured the “crazies” wouldn’t attack them. Religious talk was also another reason for being put into asylums, such as”delusive on subjects” “religious fantasies,” and “foolish romantic talk about the devil and Jesus”.

(Jordyn’s Perspective) I think this information is very unfair and truly awful. I think it’s horrifying that people were sent off to these asylums because they might’ve been a little different or had Down’s Syndrome or even pregnant. It’s very upsetting because they were sent away against their own will and they didn’t have a true mental disorder. It’s terrible that this part of history has gone almost unnoticed and many people were sent there for stupid reasons. Being pregnant is not a mental disorder. Being different is not a mental disorder. Menopause is not a mental disorder. Being ill is not a mental disorder. Being disobedient is not a mental disorder. None of these are true reasons to be admitted into a mad house. It’s truly irritating how badly people were treated back then.

(Meghan’s Perspective) When I was researching, I found an article and I started reading it. While I was reading, some of the things I read were terrible. Like being being put in insane asylums for being depressed. Hasn’t everyone been depressed at one point in their life? So a lot of people would be in those places. Being Pregnant, it was not just the girls decision. The guy has a part of it also, so why not put him in to? What will they do with the child? Why would they not put men in insane asylums for the same reasons the women were put in? The dads, husbands, and even brothers are the ones with the messed up heads. These people would not last 10 minutes in the modern world. With all the teens being pregnant, all the depressed people, all the women going through menopause, everything being different. Why would they even put them insane asylums for these dumb reasons? To get rid of them? Im glad things have changed since then.

(Jenny’s  Perspective) I honestly think that the women that were put in the insane asylums we miss judged. They didn’t get to say if they were put in the insane asylum because the men had all the rights to put them in there, because if women disobeyed there husbands boom they would be put in the asylum, if they were going through menopause boom they would go to the asylum, also if they were pregnant boom they would go to the asylum. What would they even do with the babies? Also children were admitted to insane asylums. women were also put in asylums because they were religious, or their husbands didn’t love them anymore and they just decided to put women in there. I think women were truly miss judged. Im glad our society has changed their ways

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