These photos are very sad and haunting. I wonder what their stories are.
During the asylum construction boom in England, the inpatient population increased around 100,000 – up from only 10, 000. These institutions often had special features like expansive gardens that would be part of the patients’ daily routine to tend.
Circa 1869. This patient, a young man, had to be restrained by two workers in the ward in order to get his patient identification photo for the asylum taken.
Imbecility is a catch-all term that refers to intellectual disability. Although it became popular in vernacular use, it’s not used in professional settings any more.
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Mania comes from the Greek word for “madness, frenzy” and often meant that a patient was experiencing a higher, generalized level of arousal. This could manifest in racing thoughts or event increased creativity.
Diagnosis:Monomania of Pride
This diagnosis essentially meant that the patient was obsessed with the concept of pride. One of the most common diagnoses given out during the Victorian era was that of “monomania” which was classified as a partial insanity in which the patient fixated on a concept or idea to the point of “mania”.
Diagnosis: Organic Dementia
Symptoms of dementia include: impulsiveness, depression, anxiety, agitation, tremors, balance difficulties, speech problems, difficulty eating, hallucinations, memory issues, and wandering.
Diagnosis: Consecutiva Dementia
The most popular technique for treating patients was the idea of using all-male psychiatrists to act as a “father figure” which allegedly calmed patients and helped to reverse their various mental illnesses. However, by 1890s, the patients who went into asylums didn’t come back out (alive, at least). Older techniques of physical restraints and sedation were used on patients.
Diagnosis: Senile Dementia
During much later decades in the 1900’s, mental asylums became the “perfect” place to test experimental – often cruel – treatment on patients who could not willingly consent to treatments like electroconvulsive shock therapy or lobotomies. Sometimes, these extreme measures did help patients but many suffered.