From Madness to Mental Health: Psychiatric Disorder and Its Treatment in Western Civilization

From Madness to Mental Health: Psychiatric Disorder and Its Treatment in Western Civilization

From Madness to Mental Health: Psychiatric Disorder and Its Treatment in Western Civilization

From Madness to Mental Health: Psychiatric Disorder and Its Treatment in Western Civilization

Synopsis

From Madness to Mental Health neither glorifies nor denigrates the contributions of psychiatry, clinical psychology, and psychotherapy, but rather considers how mental disorders have historically challenged the ways in which human beings have understood and valued their bodies, minds, and souls.

Greg Eghigian has compiled a unique anthology of readings, from ancient times to the present, that includes Hippocrates; Julian of Norwich's Revelations of Divine Love, penned in the 1390s; Dorothea Dix; Aaron T. Beck; Carl Rogers; and others, culled from religious texts, clinical case studies, memoirs, academic lectures, hospital and government records, legal and medical treatises, and art collections. Incorporating historical experiences of medical practitioners and those deemed mentally ill, From Madness to Mental Health also includes an updated bibliography of first-person narratives on mental illness compiled by Gail A. Hornstein.

Excerpt

More than perhaps any other set of human afflictions, the phenomena that have gone under the names of “madness,” “insanity,” “lunacy,” and “mental illness” have historically provoked a wide variety of often contradictory reactions. Those who have been in the throes of “madness” have described experiences ranging from enjoying an ecstatic sense of holiness to being beset by undeniable impulses to having feelings of unending despair. Observers have sought explanations for the behavior of “touched” and “crazy” individuals by invoking such things as sin, destiny, heredity, moral degeneracy, upbringing, trauma, fatigue, and body chemistry. Those afflicted have been admired, pitied, mocked, hidden from public view, canonized, imprisoned, restrained, operated on, sterilized, hospitalized, killed, counseled, analyzed, and medicated. Why?

This volume is an introductory anthology about the history of madness and its treatment in Western civilization. In part, it is meant to serve as a companion to Rutgers University Press’s Medicine and Western Civilization (edited by David J. Rothman, Steven Marcus, and Stephanie A. Kiceluk), with the main focus here being scientific and clinical understandings. But attention is also paid to attitudes expressed in theology, art, philosophy, the social sciences, politics, and law, as well as to the perspectives of those directly affected by madness or mental illness.

Rather than provide a broad historical narrative, in this book I present a collection of important and representative historical texts and images that shed light on the development of Western approaches to mental health. Primary sources are an ideal way to both teach and learn about human experiences such as madness that seem to defy simple description and explanation. Rather than reflecting a position on whether insanity is spiritual, social, or biological in origin or whether a given individual was . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.