Health Magazine

A Brief History of Mental Illness

By Darcsunshine

We talk about Mental health stigma all the time so I thought a little history on the topic was overdue.

Plato (428 – 348 B.C.) believed that there were three possible causes of mental disturbance–disease of the body, or imbalance of base emotions or intervention by the gods. He wrote about conditions that are recognized today–melancholia or depression, in which a person loses interest in life, and manic states, in which a person becomes euphoric or agitated. He argued that these be treated, not by chanting priests with snakes, but by convincing the person to act rationally, threatening him with confinement or rewarding him for good behavior. There was hope even then!

Hippocrates (c. 460 – 377 B.C.) proposed treating melancholia by inducing vomiting with herbs to rid the body of humors, specifically black bile. Then the body was to be built up with good food and exercise. He taught that pleasures, sorrows, sleeplessness, anxieties and absent-mindedness came from the brain when it is not healthy, but becomes “abnormally hot, cold, moist, or dry … Madness comes from its moistness”.

The Greek physician Claudius Galen (A.D. 129 – 216) accepted the theory of humors, but he dissected cadavers to study the body, and he believed that a network of nerves carried messages and sensations to and from every part of the body to the center of the nervous system, the brain.

The common people, however, rarely heard any of these reasonable explanations…

This is just a brief history. Please do your homework and find out more if you find it interesting. If this inspires you, write about it and guest blog! 



A brief history of Mental Illness
A brief history of Mental Illness
A brief history of Mental Illness

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