7000 BCE treatment for mental and physical ills: empirical practitioner: massages, baths, extractions, blood-lettings, herbs, trephination (removal of small sections of cranial bones then worn as amulets to expel demons). shamans: fetishes, amulets, talismans
2500 BCE Hammurabi's Code Diseases and mental disorders were viewed as a punishment by God or a possession by evil spirits or the devil. Diseases, both mental and physical, were considered impure or taboo.
500 BCE Early Roman Republic The father's power is absolute to kill, mutilate, or sell his children. 460 -- 370 BCE Hippocrates Writings began to show concern for children and a separation of their illnesses from those of adults. A person's health involved the relationship of four humors: blood (heart), phlegm (liver), yellow bile (spleen) and black bile (brain). Believed that epilepsy had a 'natural cause'; this and his belief that nature was the great healer moved medicine into humans' hands instead of the gods.
427 -- 347 BCE Plato The best of either sex should be united with the best as often, and the inferior with the inferior, as seldom as possible; and that they should rear the offspring of the one sort of union but not of the other, if the flock is to be maintained in first rate condition... the offspring of the inferior, or of the better when they chance to be deformed, shall be put away.
384 -- 322 BCE Aristotle "Let there be a law that no deformed child shall live." Sparta … only the strongest and brightest were to have children; lending of wives; infanticide 3rd Century BCE Athens Infanticide was a common practice. Most baby girls were automatically destroyed. Children were legally sold as slaves.
1st Century CE Hospital providing humane treatment for people with mental illness, and possibly mental retardation. Rest, sympathy, reading, and participation in dramatic performances. "Slow thinking is due to the brain's heaviness. Its firmness and stability produce the faculty of memory. Imbecility results from the rarefaction and diminution in quality of the animal spirits and from the coldness and humidity of the brain."
1st Century CE Slavery and massive poverty resulted in children being viewed as liabilities instead of assets. Mutilation to increase value as beggars. 2nd Century CE Any kind of defective person became a popular source of household amusement: there was a special market where one might purchase legless, armless, or 3-eyed men, giants, dwarfs, or hermaphrodites.
1135 -- 1204 CE Maimonides Mental retardation thought to have been caused by the brain of a phlegmatic man. A person with mental retardation can, with excellent teaching, make intellectual progress, but it is very difficult.
1247 Sheriff of London gave estate and land to the Bishop and Church of Bethlem for the purpose of building a hospital. Now believed to be the oldest providing continuous service in Europe, was converted to a mental asylum in 1377. The first patients (both mentally ill and mentally retarded) transferred from an old storehouse located much too close to the king's palace. Bethlem soon earned the title "Bedlum". 1398 inventory: 4 pairs of manacles, 11 chains of iron, 6 locks and keys, 2 stocks, for 20 patients. Dark cells were common and sexes mixed. Few staff and low quality.
Tuke: "Patients are ordered to be bled about the latter end of May, according to the weather, and after they have been bled, they take vomits, once a week for a certain number of weeks, after that we purge all the patients." Until 1770, Bethlem was one of London's favorite touring spots. Sir Thomas More: "For thou shalt in Bedlum see one laugh at the knocking of his own head against a post, and yet there is little pleasure therein."
1536 -- 1614 Felix Platter Platter called mental illness and mental retardation "mental alienation." This terminology persisted into the early 20th century, when psychiatrists were called "alienists."
1573 Ambrose Pare -- "Monstres et Prodiges“: 13 Reasons for such conditions as 2- headed girls, goat-boys, and hairy girls: 1. God's glory 2. God's wrath 3. Too much semen 4. Too little semen 5. Imagination 6. Narrowness or smallness of the womb 7. Unbecoming position of the mother, who, while pregnant remains seated too long with her thighs crossed or pressed against her stomach
13 Reasons for such conditions as 2- headed girls, goat-boys, and hairy girls: 8. A fall or blows struck against the stomach of the mother during pregnancy 9. The rotting or corruption of the semen 10. Heredity or accidental illness 11. Mingling or mixture of seed 12. Artifice of wandering beggars 13. ?????????????
Where did most people with mental retardation live? (~1500s) monasteries, hospitals, charitable facilities, prisons, almshouses, pesthouses, workhouses, warehouses, and other buildings most of which had lost their original usefulness. ONE EXCEPTION: the family- care approach used by the citizens of Gheel, Belgium. Gheel became a refuge and haven for "the mental afflicted" beginning in the 7th century.
1606 1751 The Hotel Dieu ordered by King to tend to all mentally ill and idiot people. The patients were herded together in rooms crowded with miserable beds in which they were put without distinction of disease; there were two, four, six, even twelve people bedded together in various positions. First hospital in Philadelphia separates a section for people with mental retardation and people with mental illness. By 1756, it's in the cellar -- people put on display for a slight fee.
1773 1787 Virginia -- first hospital solely for "those miserable Objects who cannot help themselves"; 1769 law "to make provision for the support and maintenance of idiots, lunatics, and other people of unsound mind." Next one is 50 years later, 1824 in Lexington, KY. Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, physician, said, "Here are both men and women, between twenty and thirty in number. Some of them have beds, most of them clean straw. Some of them were extremely fierce and raving, nearly or quite naked; some singing and dancing; some in despair; some were dumb and would not open their mouths, others incessantly talking... Everything about them, notwithstanding the labor and trouble it must have required, was neat and clean."