3] Briefly describe how mental illness was viewed prior to Philippe Pinel’s push for reform. What things were thought to cause it? How were those with disorders “treated”? What view and treatment approach did Pinel advocate? Finally, how are psychological disorders viewed today (i.e., what model)?
Before Pinel pushed for reform, mental illness was viewed in a very negative manner. Since there was not much research done on the topic, many theories arose. It was also believed that these mental problems were not illnesses because they could not be cured with medicine. People often believed that individuals displaying abnormal behaviors were possessed by evil spirits. They often referred to these people as having “psychopathic personalities” or being in a state of hysteria. Since the common assumption was evil spirits, people would seek help from priests rather than doctors. Treatment was often very inhumane with the use of electroshock, chaining people up in asylums for the rest of their lives, lobotomies and many other brutal techniques. Pinel was overwhelmingly against these inhumane treatments and pushed for more humane methods of treating these mentally ill patients. He believed that mental disorders were due to environmental stressors. He then hypothesized that improving one's environment would in turn improve one's mental state. Today, psychological disorders are viewed as something that can be treated. People have learned to be more empathetic with those suffering with these illnesses. With an outbreak of syphilis, a new revelation was made that helped doctors discover that mental illness was in fact an illness which could be diagnosed and treated.
4] Select one psychological disorder that a) is discussed in your textbook or b) we have discussed in class.
What factor(s) are believed to cause it?
What symptoms are associated with it?
What treatment(s) are typically used to address it?