Sunday, February 20, 2011

Trivia from Snake Pits, Talking Cures, & Magic Bullets: A History of Mental Illness by Deborah Kent

  • In 1997 the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) estimated that American taxpayers and consumers spend approximately $200 billion a year on drugs, therapies, and hospital stays to treat mental disorders.
  • Even though both mental retardation and mental illness affect the mind they are both very different. Mental illness involves disordered thought process and uncontrollable emotions while mental retardation is a low intelligence. It is possible for someone to suffer from both mental illness and retardation, however a mentally ill person can have an average, below average, or even an extremely high intelligence while a person with mentally retardation can be perfectly mentally healthy and have a fulfilling life.
    • What both have in common is that they both have a history of being abused, shunned, and made the object of ridicule in many societies.
  • Ancient Sanskrit records show that Hindu physicians in India established shelters, or asylums, for mentally ill persons in about 1400 B.C. According to the physicians their mentally ill patients should be treated with kindness and understanding.
  • During the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, one thing asylum directors did to being in extra money was putting their charges on display akin to a freak show. In 1815, the British House of Commons revealed that curious visitors were admitted to view the inmates at Bedlam for a penny each Sunday.
  • In ancient times, people have believed that madness is triggered by the phases of the Moon. In fact, the term “lunacy” comes from the same root as the word “lunar.”
  • Mental illness was often seen as demonic possessions to many ancient cultures.

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