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PSYC 3390
Mary Manson

Chapter 2Historical Views of Abnormal BehaviourEarliest treatment of mental disorders practiced thousands of years agoCertain forms those with headaches convulsive attacks etc medicine man treated by trephining Chipping away one area of the skull with stone instruments until a hole was cut through the skull This was thought to allow evil spirits to escape when in fact may have just relieved some pressure Demonology Gods and MagicEarly writings show Chinese Egyptians Hebrews and Greeks often attributed abnormal behaviour to a demon or god that had taken possession of the personMain treatment for demonic possession was exorcismHippocrates Early Medical ConceptsHippocrates referred to as the father of modern medicine denies deities and demons intervened in the development of mental illnessesInsisted mental disorders had natural causes and appropriate treatmentsBelieved that mental disorders were due to brain pathology Emphasized the importance of heredity and predispositionPointed out that injuries to the head could cause sensory and motor disordersDoctrine of the four humoursThe four elements of the material world earth are fire water combined to form the four essential fluids of the body Blood sanguis phlegm bile choler and black bile melancholerThese fluids combined in different proportions within individuals and a persons temperament was determined by which of the humours was dominantEarliestlongestlasting typologies of human behaviour The sanguine the phlegmatic the choleric and the melancholic Each of these types had its own personality attributesHippocrates considered dreams to be important and developed a basic concept of modern psychodynamic psychotherapyWhile he emphasized the natural causes of diseases clinical observation and brain pathology as the root of mental disorder he had little knowledge of physiology Early Philosophical ConceptionsThe Greek philosopher Plato studied mentally disturbed individuals that committed criminal acts and ways to deal with themhe believed these people should not receive punishment in the same way as normal personsPlato also made provisions for mental cases to be cared for in the communityPlato viewed psychological phenomena as responses of the whole organismEmphasized the importance of individual differences in intellectual and other abilities and took into account sociocultural influences in shaping thinking and behaviourPlatos idea of treatment included hospital care for individuals who developed beliefs different than the broader social order where they would be engage in conversations comparable to psychotherapyAristotle a student of Plato developed descriptions of consciousness Held the view that thinking as directed would eliminate pain and help to attain pleasureAristotle discussed and rejected the possibility of psychological factors such as frustration and conflict causing mental disordersHe subscribed to the Hippocratic theory of disturbances in the bile Later Greek and Roman ThoughMedical practices had developed to a higher level Pleasant surrounding were considered great therapeutic value for mental patientsPhysicians used a wide range of therapeutic measures Diet massage hydrotherapy gymnastics and education as well as some less desirable practices such as bloodletting purging and mechanical restraintsOne of the most influential Greek physicians was GalenMade a number of original contributions concerning the anatomy of the nervous systemFindings were based on the dissection of animals as human autopsies were not allowedTook a scientific approach to the field dividing the causes of psychological disorders into physical and mental categories Among causes he named were injuries to the head excessive use of alcohol shock fear menstrual changes economic reversals and disappointment in loveRoman physiciansWanted to make their patients comfortable and used pleasant physical therapies such as warm baths and massageThey followed the principle contrariis contrarius opposite by opposite Eg having their patients drink chilled wine while they were in a warm tub Abnormality during the Middle AgesDuring the Middle Ages the more scientific aspects of Greek medicine survived in the Islamic countries of the Middle EastThe first mental hospital was established in Baghdad in 792 CEIn these hospitals mentally disturbed individuals received humane treatmentThe outstanding figure in Islamic medicine was Avicenna from Arabia called the prince of physicians and the author of The Canon of Medicine perhaps the most widely studied medical work ever writtenAvicenna frequently referred to hysteria epilepsy manic reactions and melancholiaIn Europe during the Middle Ages scientific inquiry into abnormal behaviour was limited and the treatment of psychologically disturbed individuals was characterized more often by ritual or superstition than by attempts to understand an individuals condition Mass MadnessDuring the last half of the Middle Ages in Europe Peculiar trend emerged in efforts to understand abnormal behaviourIt involved mass madness the widespread occurrence of group behaviour disorders that were apparently cases of hysteriaWhole groups of people were affected simultaneouslyDancing manias epidemics of raving jumping dancing and convulsions were reported as early as the tenth centuryOne episode that occurred in Italy was known asTarantisma disorder that included an uncontrollable impulse to dance that was often attributed to the bite of the southern European tarantula or wolf spider This later spread to Germany and the rest of Europe where it was known as Saint Vitus danceSimilar to the ancient orgiastic rites through which people had worshiped the Greek god DionysusThese rites had been banned with the advent of ChristianityThey were deeply embedded in the culture and were kept alive in secret gatheringsWith time the meanings of the dances changed the old rites appeared but were attributed to symptoms of the tarantulas biteThe participants were no longer sinners but the unwilling victims of the tarantulas spiritThe dancing became the cure and is the source of the dance we know today as the tarantellaIsolated rural areas were afflicted with outbreaks of lycanthropya condition in which people believed themselves to be possessed by wolves and imitated their behaviourMass madness reached its peak during the fourteenth and fifteenth century Period noted for social oppression famine and epidemic diseasesToday mass hysteria is known as mass psychogenic illnessIt typically involves sufferers mistakenly attributing bodily changes or sensations to serious disease
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