Madness and Medicine

Madness and Medicine - Angie Morales History 87 Research...

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Angie Morales History 87 Research Paper May 6, 2010 The Moral Treatment: Its partnership with religion against mental illness Mental illness has been explained by many different factors. From biological roots, family issues, traumatic experience and repressed memories. We have also had many methods of treatment for them. Religion is usually overlooked as a root to mental illness, as it is also overlooked as treatment. Tension between religion and psychiatry has been seen throughout the centuries. Religion has played a great role in moral treatment and the evolution of psychiatry. Its exclusion from many places of healing has showed that the evolving psychiatry and the traditional religious views have clashed in what the best method of treatment can be. One of the earliest views of religion was included in moral treatment. There was a division in the use of religion to treat mental health. Yet as psychiatry left behind the religious views and created an atmosphere of its own. Religion seemed to have a lot of influence in psychiatry and in the moral movement, yet there are still residuals to the alternatives it presented. Before the birth of psychiatry people saw the mentally ill as sick, with an imbalance of the four humors. Until the first decades of the nineteenth century, therapies such as bleeding, herbs, ice baths and many times neglect were used on the mentally ill. With moral treatment instead of making mental illness to be a demonic possession or a form of debasement, the pioneers of moral treatment viewed it as a physical illness. “They saw it as a phenomenon that changed a person’s behavior through physical changes in the brain, rather than as something that debased his or her humanity.”(Taubes, 1998) With the beginning of psychiatry came the
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liberation of patients and the idea of moral treatment. Pinel who is known as the father of psychiatry advocated for more humane treatment of the patients (Zilboorg, date unknown). He saw the patients as humans and once he became in charge Salpêtrière asylum for women, he saw and freed the patients from chains and restrain. He also brought upon a new method of treating mental illness. He introduced more humane treatment of patients to psychiatry. Asylums started to become known as places of refuge and understanding. The patients were allowed to be free and had the privacy they longed for. Religion also had some underlying effects along with moral treatment. They created much fear and guilt among the patients. The patients seemed to get better in their behavior but they would become haunted with inner guilt. The moral treatment created punishment with bad behavior in the form of guilt. This guilt would haunt the men. Religion was many times viewed as another mode of punishment or warning to the patients. When patients would misbehave the patients would be told of the sins they were committing. (Connel, 2001) Any patient that was
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Madness and Medicine - Angie Morales History 87 Research...

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