Thursday, September 13, 2012

Mental Health of Yore

Long ago there was a different attitude toward the mentally ill and mentally deficient in the U.S.

We are much more enlightened today.

Between the 1920s and the 1960s, it was thought that state-ordered sterilization was part of the solution. This was the era of the Progressives' eugenics ideas, though much of it was pre-WWII.

These people were often put in state hospitals, the mentally ill for treatment and the mentally deficient or "feeble-minded" as they were called, for warehousing. Warehousing and experimentation sometimes.

Epileptics, embarrassments to their parents, were housed in other state hospitals and often lived out their lives there. Obviously these people were not mentally deficient (for the most part) nor mentally ill, yet they were separated from society anyway. Experimental surgeries were performed and different medications were tried.

I have read that the Nazis got a lot of their ideas about racial cleansing from us and our progressive society. I don't like to think that is true.

For the mentally ill, Electro-shock therapy was common - it still is used today - and then came the rise in popularity of the lobotomy. Next post, I would like to introduce you to the father of modern lobotomy, perfecter of the transorbital method, performer of nearly 3500 lobotomies, Dr. Walter Freeman. Some people hailed him as a true medical pioneer, and some probably still do. Personally, I think of him as Victor Frankenstein incarnate.


  1. Replies
    1. I didn't know what that was. Thought it might be some depraved Scot football team. I had to look it up. Now I know. I had thought that was the same thing as the shock thing which puts you into convulsions. Anyway, that's what the doctor did to make them unconscious for a few minutes while he drove the ice picks into their eye sockets. I guess convulsions are different than shock. They used insulin for shock too. I hope you are not speaking with the voice of experience here.

    2. "Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), formerly known as electroshock, is a psychiatric treatment in which seizures are electrically induced in anesthetized patients for therapeutic effect. Its mode of action is unknown. "

      I've known several who have had this and it's not good. It removes depression but removes other things also. Nobody knows how, yet it is still used. At the hospital our head porter refused to allow it, he had received it, and he was right.

  2. Speaking of feeble-mindedness, if you haven't seen Innocence of Muslims yet, head to YouTube before it's taken down. You'll regret it, but it would be better to beat Adullamite to the punch.

    1. I did get to see it. Thanks for the link. I hope you don't believe that silly film is the cause of any of the attacks though.

  3. Gene Tierney had 27 electro shock treatments. Later she became an outspoken opponent since they had destroyed large portions of her memory.



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