We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy

Mental Illness Prior to the Renaissance Period Essay Sample

  • Pages: 3
  • Word count: 552
  • Rewriting Possibility: 99% (excellent)
  • Category: psychology

Get Full Essay

Get access to this section to get all help you need with your essay and educational issues.

Get Access

Introduction of TOPIC

What are some methods that were used to treat individuals who were presumably suffering from some form of mental illness prior to the Renaissance period? What are the rationales behind these methods?

Prior to the Renaissance period, Enlightenment thinkers urged the reformation of treating mental illnesses, which many treatments were used that today would be looked at as appalling or astounding in treating the mentally ill. German doctor Johann Weyer (1515-1588), the first physician to specialize in mental illness, believed that the mind was as susceptible to sickness as the body was (Comer, 2011). According to Goodwin (2008), Phillipe Pinel (1745-1826) introduced humane reforms in Paris, which established the asylum (type of institution that first became popular in the 16th century to provide care for those with mental disorders, which became virtual prisons) for both men and women known as Bircêtre asylum (1793) and Salpêtrière asylum (1795). Pinel also introduced “moral treatment” to improve institutional living conditions, reduction of physical restraint of patients, and improvement of patient’s behavior.

At the same time, Benjamin Rush introduced a medical model explaining mental illness and also developed an approach to treat and emphasize “improving” the condition of pat

ients’ blood and circulatory system, which advocated the “bloodletting” as a cure. He believed

Sorry, but full essay samples are available only for registered users

Choose a Membership Plan
that in order to reduce the hypertension in the brain’s blood vessels, blood should be removed through the opening of the veins until a person reaches a tranquil state. Rush also created two devices to calm the blood, which included the gyrator and the tranquilizer to redistribute blood toward the head and reduce pulse rate (Goodwin, 2008).

Another example of treatment is the supernatural view of abnormality that began as far back as the Stone Age. Some skulls from that period recovered in Europe and South America show evidence of an operation called trephination (a stone instrument, or trephine) was used to cut away a circular section of the skull, which was used to treat severe abnormal behavior—either hallucinations or melancholia. For historians, the purpose of opening the skull was to release the evil spirits that were supposedly causing problems of hallucinations or melancholia. Not only trephination took place, but also treatments for abnormality within the early societies were often exorcism.

The idea to coax evil spirits to leave or make the person’s body an uncomfortable place in which to live, a shaman or a priest may recite prayers, plead with evil spirits, insult the evil spirits, perform magic, make loud noises, or have the person ingest bitter drinks. However, if this technique fails, the shaman performs more extreme form of exorcism, such as whipping or starving the person. Other forms of treatment that were also used in asylums were shock treatments, the crib (which a person is completely strapped in the crib), the rush chair or restraining chair (to limit motion and reduce sensory stimulation by covering the head and blocking vision), and rotating chair (to induce a state of shock) (Comer, 2011).


oComer, R. J. (2011). Fundamentals of abnormal psychology (6th ed.). New York, NY: Worth. oGoodwin, C. J. (2008). A history of modern psychology (3rd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

We can write a custom essay on

Mental Illness Prior to the Renaissance Period Ess ...
According to Your Specific Requirements.

Order an essay

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

Battles with anorexia nervosa

The Dad of the family, Stephen aged 52 ,is a heart surgeon who travels around the world working for charities .The mum of the family is called Marisa aged 50,she is an ex catwalk model, now fixated on plastic surgery to keep her body looking young. Their Daughter Alice aged 25 is a successful shop owner of high end clothing, also with a clientele who are loyal and wealthy. she is very successful in running her business, but also suffers with low self esteem and battles with “anorexia nervosa”, occasional “bulimic “tendencies and struggles to maintain relationships with males. From a psychodynamic approach, it would have been argued that anorexia can start to develop in adolescence. Girls are suggested to make up 90% of the patients with these disorders. It was suggested by the theorist’s that the anorexia is due to the fear of sexual desire or “oral impregnation” (Eysenck2000)....

Analytical psychology

Termed by Carl Jung, collective unconscious offers a respectable insight into the field of analytical psychology. Describing the concept as “a psychic activity which goes on independently of the conscious mind”, Jung clearly differentiates this term from personal unconscious and states that collective unconscious, as suggested by its name, refers to the part of a person’s unconscious that is shared by all people, ignoring the uniqueness of each person (Jung). Born with a set of beliefs that were inherited from our previous generations, we do not form the thoughts as a result of our current life experiences, but is rather already present from the start (Jung). Although not available to us directly, collective unconscious, he argued, is encountered by us in our unconscious states, such as in dreams, religious beliefs, and myths. A huge component of, as well as a way Jung justified his concept of collective unconscious, is the...

Social Sciences: Geography, Anthropology, Sociology, Eeconomics and...

Geography is the study of the physical parts of the earth and its atmosphere, geography can also be the study of the human activity. Every day, geography affects our daily lives. Examples of geography affecting us on a regular basis are shown from everyday experiences. The environment constantly affects us, whether it be by weather and climate change or giving us natural resources like energy and water. The study of geography lets us work with our planet to better ourselves and itself. Geography helps us with what we know about our earth now and what we will know about our earth later. Anthropology is the study of various aspects of humans within the past and present societies and culture,\"(\"anthropology\". Oxford Dictionaries. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 10 August 2013.), everyone wants to know where we all came from, where all of it started. we can apply anthropology in our lives with...

Popular Essays


Emma Taylor


Hi there!
Would you like to get such a paper?
How about getting a customized one?