Wednesday, November 01, 2006


Here's a continuation of our history. I last left off on the 1700s. Here are the "advances" psychiatry made from 1700-1800:

Throughout the 1700s and 1800s, patients were chained naked to walls, beaten with rods and lashed into obedience. French asylum director Philippe Pinel abolished the use of chains in Paris' Salpetriere Institution in 1793. In their place he instituted straitjackets and threatened patients who misbehaved with "10 severe lashes".

I can't say that there were any huge advances or changes made in psychiatry during this time, it was pretty much the same torturous treatment as in the 1600s-1700s. None of the above is not nearly as awful as what the "Father of American Psychiatry" Benjamin Rush did to his patients. I'll share that with you next time, but just to leave you with an idea of his attitude, here's a quote from Dr. Benjamin Rush regarding one of his inventions - the "Tranquilizer Chair", which was used to keep the patient in a state of discomfort and pain for hours on end:
"It binds and confines every part of the body. By preventing the muscles from acting...the position of the head and feet favors the easy application of cold water or ice to the former and warm water to the latter. Its effects have been truly delightful to me."
Here's a pic of the chair:

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