The History of Dorthea Dix's Creation of Mental Asylums

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The mental insane in the 1800s were treated as sins from God. If a family had a family member with a mental disability during that period the family was expected to hide and be ashamed of that member. Usually only the well being were able to hide the ill member, the lower classes because of the cost of a useless extra family member, were forced to turn their insane member to the streets. Asylums for the mental ill were first developed by Dorothea Dix after her horrified visit to Bedlam hospital. Dix single handily helped transform asylums of the late 18th century into organized medical models that are seen today. Thus, by Dix’s need to help others and her determination to change the lives of the mental ill the first insane asylum was created. The past of Dorothea Dix is filled with her generously helping and teaching others. She was born in Hampden, Maine in 1802. Some believed she was neglected or overlooked growing up. When turning ten she moved in with her wealthy grandmother. While there she completed course to become a school teacher and a little later “established an elementary school in her grandmother's home in 1821.” (Parry3) Dix also published multiple books of religious texts to help follow school teachers on moral lessons. When her father passed away she became a sole heir to his massive fortune. With this fortune she begin to open schools for the under privilege children and help update the older schools. Dix even with helping and caring for others “she suffered from depression at several times during her life, and experienced a type of mental breakdown during [the] period.” (Parry3) When Dix begins to see a problem with how the mental ill were treated she saw the need to help them through their battle. Overall, ... ... middle of paper ... ...e thought by seeing the patient’s symptoms and basing the type of treatment they received off of those symptoms was a way for them to be cured. By repeating therapy such as dipping the patient in cold or hot water to calm them down or wake them up, it could allow them a chance to return to normal society. Dix brought special doctors into her newly developed asylums to help integrate the medical model throughout the asylums. Patients in Dix’s asylum begin to benefit tremendously from the care and treatment they were given. Dix took data over the improvements of her patients and reported back to the state proving that indeed the asylums are successful. The government after seeing the proof was forced into giving asylums funds to help keep them running and helped built new ones. Thus, the use of the medical model Dorothea Dix started the first government funded asylums.

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