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Essay about Psychosurgery and Its Role in Psychology

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Neurosurgery used for the treatment of mental illnesses has a vast history with its origin tracing back to the beginning of time. However, psychosurgery, brain surgery in which attempts to correct a mental disorder, was not developed until the mid-20th century (Mashour). During this time, lobotomies, an alteration in nerve tracts of the frontal lobe of the brain, were performed on Americans who were considered mentally ill. Although many health care professionals at that time supported this practice, there were just as many who were concerned about using psychosurgery as a method of treatment to alter an individual’s brain. This concern stemmed from many cases in which the operation was not beneficial to the patient, and the patient’s questionable level of decision making to provide consent for the procedure because of their level of mental impairment. In spite of the adverse effects psychosurgery had on those with psychiatric disorders, it still remains relevant to psychology because its use has now transpired into less harmful and noninvasive therapies. These modernized treatments have proven to increase quality of life for those with mental disorders. In summary, we will explore the figures that were infamously known for performing this procedure, the safety/legal issues surrounding this surgery, the relevance psychosurgery has to psychology today, and the current practices that are used to treat mental illnesses.

In the United States, psychiatric neurosurgery was the main treatment for psychiatric disorders for several decades. Egas Moniz, a Portuguese neurologist, was one of the first to use psychosurgery as a treatment for mental illnesses. He was inspired by Fulton and Jacobson’s frontal cortical ablation on ani...


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...3, 2012 from http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/psychotherapies/index.shtml

Raz, M. (2008). Between the Ego and the Icepick: Psychosurgery, psychoanalyses, an psychiatric discourse. Bulletin of the History of Medicine, 82, 387-420. The John Hopkins University Press. Retrieved February 23, 2012 from Project MUSE database.

Roberts, L. (2003). Mental Illness and Informed Consent: Seeking and Empirically Derived Understanding of Voluntarism. Medscape. Retrieved March 21, 2012 from http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/460483

Rodgers, J. (1992). Psychosurgery. Retrieved February 23, 212 from http://m.psychologytoday.com/articles/199203/psychosurgery

Williams, M. (2002). Psychosurgery. The Journal of Perioperative Practice, 12(12), 443-443. Retrieved form http://ezproxy.uwa.edu:2048/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/217765577?accountid=14786


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