Ontario Budget

In: Business and Management

Submitted By melissahook
Words 459
Pages 2
Pre 20th Century Mental Institutions||
Melissa Hook HSP 3M1 |October 1st, 2011|

A Cruel Fate: Torture in the Asylums

Since the dawn of time, human nature has proven to be uncompassionate, aggressive and horrific. This idea is ultimately evident as we examine the horrendous procedures, and conditions of pre 20th century insane asylums. In his Journal of Social History, C. Rosenberg (1997) writes “Institutions traditionally seen as expressions of reform and benevolence have increasingly come to be seen as modes of enforcing social control”. Regardless of the barbaric and obscene methods of treatment, mental institutions were notorious for their insanely high levels of social control and complete ignorance of the rights of the patients. Inhabitants of these institutions experienced harsh and sometimes life threatening living conditions, and very poor nutrition and treatment. Essentially, the inmates of pre 20th century insane asylums were treated in a comparable manor as to that of an animal. The seriousness of these conditions is affirmed in the article, A Historical Sketch of the Emergence of Liverpool Psychiatry (Valliant 1963). The author states that these unfortunates were confined and cruelly repressed, beaten, starved, and manacled for acts over which they had no control. They were kept in filthy rat-inrested dungeons without light or clothing and the only medical treatments were shots in the dark such as ‘Whirling Chairs’ ( para- 3 Valliant 1963). Figure 1.1 (1949) demonstrates one of the many treatment procedures experienced by prisoners of the asylums, the doctor is performing electroshock therapy before this patients lobotomy. Electroshock therapy is the administration of a strong electric current that passes through the brain to induce convulsions and coma, this would then be followed by a surgical operation involving an incision to the prefrontal…...

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