January 2012 Archives

Hope for a better tomorrow

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Chapter 15 deals with mental disorders, how they are diagnosed and how they are treated. What was most interesting to me about the chapter was how society's view of mental disability has changed over the years. During the Middle Ages, any abnormality was considered to be the fault of demons or witches, hence the conception of a demonic model. With the Renaissance, a new medical model took hold, which essentially attempted to treat mentally ill patients in a variety of bizarre ways, such as draining extreme amounts of blood from the body (I thought this was especially interesting; if anyone remembers the movie Shutter Island, one of the characters actually talks about this being a method for treating mentally ill patients in the "Old days." I thought it was an interesting way of fusing fact with fiction). When chlorpromazine came on the scene in the 1950s, it eventually led to a new stage called deinstitutionalization, in which many patients were made stable enough to be released into the world

I think it's important for people to know about this gradual acceptance of mental disability because it has been just that - a gradual acceptance. Over time, the world has grown to understand that these kinds of things, these kinds of unexplainable, unpreventable life occurrences, aren't completely the work of the devil. Patients who are mentally ill are still people, although it's taken many years for us to realize that, and in fact we still continue to struggle with it. Here's to hoping it gets better.

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