Insane Asylums in the 19th and 20th Century

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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