It is said that mental illness has existed since history has been recorded. Mental illness is the “condition that is said to exist when a person 's emotions, thoughts, or behavior deviate substantially from what is considered to be normal at a certain time and place in history” (Hergenhahn & Henley, 2014, p. 490). Individuals who suffered from a mental illness have been seen as mad, insane and as lunatics due to the deviation in their character, which demonstrates an alteration in emotions, unrealistic thoughts and perceptions, and unpredictable behavior (Claridge, 1995). The belief or perception of the causes of mental illness and the treatments given to the individuals whose behavior deviates from the norm has varied throughout the years because of findings that have occurred throughout the course of history. This paper is an internal analysis of the history of mental illness and its treatments. It will compare and contrast ideas, theories, and perspectives that arose from early history until recently which have influenced the world of psychology.
Madness: a punishment from God
For early ancient civilizations such as the Egyptians and Hebrews, mental and physical illnesses were seen as the same, because they considered the heart and the mind to being one. It was a common belief that individuals with these types of sickness were possessed by demons and their cure only came in the form of a religious exorcism. Hebrews believed that all illness were inflicted upon humans by God as a form of punishment for their sin. It was believed that even the demons that possessed these individuals were also an attribute of God’s anger. Since illnesses were considered to have an attachment to religion the majority of these treat...
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...iney & King, 1998)
Another important character in the field of mental illness was Claudius Galen (c. 129 -c. 199 A.D.) Galen was one of the best-known Roman physicians who conducted anatomical studies on pigs and apes in his time. It is said that he thought that most mental disorders were the result of an imbalance in humors, just like Hippocrates and other Greeks. The theory of the imbalance in humors had advanced further by his time, but he added four qualities that contributed to the role of sickness and health. He believed in a psychological basis for mental disorder. Galen was one of the first to emphasize the importance of education, advice or counsel as a form of alleviating emotional problems, and that such type of therapy should be donen in a direct and authoritarian manner by an older mature man, who is respected and free from passions. (Viney & King, 1998)
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