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PSYC 3390 (102)
Chapter 2


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PSYC 3390
Mary Manson

CHAPTER 2 Historical and Contemporary Views of Abnormal Behaviour HISTORICAL VIEWS OF ABNORMAL BEHAVIOUR  6 500 B.C.E. – trephining: chip away at part of skull to make hole (trephine); allowed evil spirit to excape  16 century B.C.E. Egypt – earliest recordings of treatments of diseases and behaviour disorders, brain described for first time and recognized as area for mental function Demonolgy, Gods, and Magic  Chinese, Egyptians, Hebrews and Greeks usually associated abnormal behaviour to a demon or god who had possessed a person  religious or mystical significant actions = possession of good spirit – these people were respected  most possessions thought to be work of angry god or spirit; wrath or punishment of God  primary treatment = exorcism Hippocrates’ Early Medical Concepts  believed mental illnesses had natural causes and treatments; not to do with demons or gods  emphasized heredity and predisposition  head injuries = sensory and motor disorders  classified mental disorders into 3 categories o Mania o Melancholia o Phrenitis (brain fever)  four elements of material world – earth, air, fire and water - combined to form four essential fluids of the body – blood (sanguis), phlegm, bile (choler) and black bile (melancholer)  these fluids combined in certain proportions – which ever humour was dominant determined a person’s temperament : sanguine, phlegmatic, choleric and melancholic Early Philosophical Conceptions Plato:  thought mentally disturbed patients not responsible for their crimes, should be cared for by the community  saw psychological phenomena as responses of the whole organism; reflecting its internal state and natural appetites  importance of individual differences, sociocultural influences Aristotle:  focused on consciousness; thinking as directed could eliminate pain and help attain pleasure  didn’t believe disorders could be caused by psychological factors (frustration, conflict)  believed in bile disturbances; very hot bile generated amorous desires, verbal fluency, and suicidal impulses Later Greek and Roman Thought  332 B.C.E. - Hippocrates work carried on; higher level of medical practice, therapies using pleasant surroundings in temple, diet, massage  less desirable treatments – bloodletting, purging, mechanical restraints Galen:  contributed to research on anatomy and nervous system  dissected animals; human autopsies not yet allowed  divided causes of psychological disorders into physical and mental causes CHAPTER 2 Historical and Contemporary Views of Abnormal Behaviour  causes: injuries to the head, use of alcohol, menstrual changes, economic reversals and disappointment in love Roman medicine:  pleasant physical therapies  contrariis contrarius (opposite by opposite) therapy: drink chilled wine in warm bath 2.1 DEVELOPMENTS IN THINKING: Hysteria and Melancholia through Ages Hysteria  “conversion disorder” in DSM-IV-TR  believed to be caused by barren/wandering uterus  17th century – Willis theorized the disorder was caused from brain disorder Melancholia  depression  different forms in men and women  thought to be demonic possession  Griesinger – found biological basis for depression  Kraeplin – prepared modern view of psychiatry; identified manic depression and major category of depression Abnormality during the Middle Ages  Islamic countries – scientific aspects of Greek medicine survived in Islamic countries – humane treatment in mental hospitals  Europe – inhumane treatment and devoid of scientific thinking; limited inquiry into abnormal behaviour, treatment about ritual or superstition not understanding  Supernatural explanations of the causes of mental illness became popular  influence of theology, ‘sin’ thought to be causal factor Mass madness:  last half of middle ages; widespread occurrence of group behaviour disorders – apparently hysteria  tarantism – a.k.a. Saint Vitus dance; uncontrollable impulse to dance; attributed to bite of south European Tarantula  dance became part of old rites, dancing became the ‘cure’  lycanthropy – people believed to be possessed by wolves and imitated their behaviour  mass madness now known as mass psychogenic illness  in contemporary cultures, involves sufferer attributing bodily changes to a serious disease  outbreaks occur after environmental event or trigger  misinterpretation of symptoms likely to happen if health effects known  index person (first person to report symptoms) may be suffering from a genuine medical condition but misinterprets significance of symptoms Exorcism and witchcraft:  in middle ages in Europe, management of mentally disturbed mostly left to clergy  treated with kindness in beginning; treatments consisted of prayer and holy water  exorcism: symbolic acts used to drive out devil from possessed people, done by gentle ‘laying of hands’ in addition to some medical treatments (medical prescriptions) CHAPTER 2 Historical and Contemporary Views of Abnormal Behaviour  exorcism still practiced in many countries; in Canada, the Archdiocese does not have an exorcist or perform exorcisms  mentally disturbed thought to be witches but, typical accused witch was usually an impoverished woman with a sharp tongue  blurred perception of witchcraft and mental illness? Burton states there are two kinds of possession; physical = mad, or spiritually = witches 2.2 DEVELOPMENTS IN THINKING: Early Views of Mental Disorders in China  Yin and Yang, body consists of positive and negative forces – when they are out of balance, illness results  Early in Chinese medicine, believed in natural causes of mental illness  This thought later regressed to the belief of supernatural forces TOWARD HUMANITARIAN APPROACHES  later part of Middle Ages and early Renaissance – scientific questioning re-emerged, importance of human interests (humanism), superstitious beliefs were challenged The Resurgence of Scientific Questioning in Europe  demonology and superstition began to give way to development of modern experimental and clinical approaches Paracelus:  rejected demonology  believed in astral forces causing abnormal behaviour – moon exerted supernatural influence Johann Weyer:  disturbed by witch hunt and treatment of those accused  founder of modern psychopathology The Establishment of Early Asylums and Shrines  16 century: asylums – places of refuge meant for care of mentally ill – grew in number  meant to remove troublesome individuals from society  but patients lived in conditions of filth and cruelty  18 century Europe and North American: mental institutions just modified prisons, treated more like beasts than human beings  treatments were aggressive; believed patients needed to choose rationality over insanity therefore aimed at restoring physical balance in body and brain – meant to intimidate patients; shock treatments, bleeding, powerful drugs Humanitarian Reform  late 18 century, mental hospitals in need of reform – humanitarian treatment of patients! Pinel’s Experiment:  removed chains from patients, had patients treated with kindness and consideration; sunny rooms, permitted to exercise  experiment was a success: noise, filth and abuse replaced with order and peace CHAPTER 2 Historical and Contemporary Views of Abnormal Behaviour Tuke’s Work in England:  York retreat; pleasant country house where mental patients lived, worked and rested kindly in religious atmosphere  treat patients with kindness and acceptance  sparked growth of humane psychiatric treatment and changed public attitudes of mentally disturbed Moral management in North America:  Benjamin Rush, founder of North American Psychiatry, encouraged more humane treatment of mentally ill  moral management: emphasized patients’ moral and spiritual development and rehabilitation of character rather than their physical or mental disorders  was very effective, done without antipsychotic drugs  Nearly abandoned in late 19 century: o prejudice against rising immigrant population which created tension among staff and patients o mental hygiene movement: method of treatment almost exclusively focused on physical well-being of hospitalized mental patients; patients were more comfortable but mental problems were not resolved o advances in biom
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