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The History of Mental Health Treatments

Hi friends! It’s been a while, and I’m back on the blog!!

Mental health has been around since humans have been around. There have been developments around treatment throughout history, and today we’re going to go over those and bring it all the way up to modern day, 2022. From lobotomies, to prescription SSRIs, we’re going over it all, and how it came to be.

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As always, we’re here to break stigmas. The stigma of mental illness isn’t anything new – in fact, the earliest known “treatment” of mental illness began over 7,000 years ago.

Now, not much is known about this treatment referred to by historians as Trephination, but it’s assumed to be thought to treat headaches, mental illness, and demonic possession – all by chipping away at the patient’s skull.

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In order to bring advocacy into the modern day and beyond, we need to look back.

Earliest known treatments in History

Besides Trephination, there were many other… let’s say creative treatments that the powers-that-be decided mental illness sufferers needed. I’m sure you’ve heard of bloodletting, where the patient places leeches on their skin to suck and digest their blood.

It was thought that all illnesses stemmed from the body’s blood, so leeches could quite literally drink out the sickness.

Leeches weren’t just used for mental ailments either, physical problems such as smallpox were treated by leeches as well at times. While leeches are certainly gross and unsettling, how about Metrazol Therapy? It sounds like a nice, scientific name – right?

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Well, sorry to burst your bubble… the name refers to doctor-induced seizures.

Some doctors thought that if a patient was mentally ill, they could cure them by inducing seizures. So, the physicians gave their patients this electric shock that was powerful enough to send them into a seizure in under a minute – and as medieval as this sounds, it began in the 1930s!

This practice has developed over decades and is still used today in the form of “ECT” or electroconvulsive therapy.

On top of all this, I did a deep dive on Asylums on my Podcast.

To learn more about insane asylums, their treatments, and to hear a victim story that is shocking: listen to Weekly Wellness Podcast.

Thanks for reading!

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