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The History of Mental Illness and its Effect on Human Beings


The history of mental illness and the treatments used by people in the past and present show us what developments have been made in the area of psychiatric and psychological health practices. The history of mental illness reveals to us that people have been trying to find cures for the various problems that stem from the human mind since way back in time, and that the more people understood about the nature of certain mental problems, the more effectively a solution can be reached.

In the early days of the history of mental illness, people thought of mental illnesses as manifestations of the devil and its evil intentions. The lack of scientific studies to prove that a mentally disturbed person is not possessed by the devil led to the persecution of numerous people who were suffering from these mental illnesses. In the history of mental illness, the infamous Salem Witch Hunt was one such situation where people who had psychological problems that were hard to understand or people who were exhibiting abnormal behavioral patterns were tried and persecuted for the practice of witchcraft. If these things happened in this day and age, the actions that the Salem Witches showed could have been diagnosed as stress related or even psychosomatic due to the pressures that they were experiencing from certain sources in the place they were living at that time.

You can see from the history of mental illness that the connection between the belief of spiritual disturbances and mental wellness or illnesses traces back to the times of the Indians and natives. There were tribes and groups of natives that had a shaman or a witch doctor that tried to cure people of these psychological manifestations that they believed in those days to be the work of bad spirits or the devil. It wasn't until later in the history of mental illness that myths about the relation between devil worship and certain mental disorders was slowly being proven against and humane psychological treatments were used on mentally and psychologically disturbed individuals.

The history of mental illness shows that before real treatments and cures for the problems that plague the human mind were available, some people would go through more anguish in the form of certain mental treatments that usually made them insane instead of curing them. The cruelty that mentally ill patients got from certain mental institutions and mental health care professionals often bordered on the sadistic, and these “treatments” were often the reasons why they were driven to insanity instead of getting cured of the mental problems they had.



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