By Richard Noll
In 1895 there has been no longer a unmarried case of dementia praecox said within the usa. via 1912 there have been tens of millions of individuals with this prognosis locked up in asylums, hospitals, and jails. via 1927 it was once fading away . How may well this type of poor ailment be came across, impact such a lot of lives, after which grow to be anything else?In brilliant aspect, Richard Noll describes how the invention of this mysterious illness gave desire to the overworked asylum medical professionals that they can ultimately explain—though they can no longer cure—the depressing sufferers surrounding them. the tale of dementia praecox, and its eventual alternative through the hot proposal of schizophrenia, additionally finds how asylum physicians fought for his or her personal respectability. If what they have been gazing used to be a ailment, then this organic truth was once amenable to clinical study. within the early 20th century, dementia praecox was once psychiatry’s key into an more and more science-focused scientific profession.But for the instant, not anything might be performed to assist the victims. while the concept that of schizophrenia provided a clean realizing of this sickness, and desire for a healing, psychiatry deserted the previous affliction for the recent. during this dramatic tale of a vanished prognosis, Noll exhibits the co-dependency among a ailment and the medical prestige of the career that treats it. The ghost of dementia praecox haunts today’s debates concerning the most modern new release of psychiatric issues. (20111027)
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Additional resources for American Madness: The Rise and Fall of Dementia Praecox
Although the pay was low— on average less than half of the salary of superintendents—it was reliably consistent. In comparison income from a general practice of medicine in an era of local home visits was abysmally unpredictable and often uncollectable. Furthermore in an institution free room and board for the asylum physician and his family was provided. Such security was the attraction for many, as well as the dream of one day rising to the allpowerful position of asylum superintendent, a position of paternalistic prestige and significant social status that extended outside the walls of the institution.
Case books from a century ago contain records of many patients who were never formally designated with a diag- T H E W O R L D O F T H E A M E R I C A N A L I E N I S T, 1 8 9 6 27 nosis, again indicating how irrelevant it was—but to be fair to asylum physicians, the same situation persisted in many dispensaries and hospitals and general medical practice in the United States. Despite its importance to the new scientific medicine of that time, disease specificity of the insanities was not a concern of American alienists in 1896.
Only the most obvious medical problems were 30 T H E W O R L D O F T H E A M E R I C A N A L I E N I S T, 1 8 9 6 noted and received attention. Sometimes attending to the multitude of medical problems of varying severity might occupy an entire day. —but would receive verbal reports from the nurses and attendants as he made his rounds. The remainder of his day would be consumed with two other activities, clerical and pharmaceutical. Individual fi les containing all the medical records of a single patient did not exist in American asylums in the 1890s.
American Madness: The Rise and Fall of Dementia Praecox by Richard Noll