doctors now believe that they have a much greater handle on the workings of the human brain, but keep in mind, that is exactly what those who came before them thought. and while it is indisputable that we do now have more information about the chemistry of the brain and the makeup of the various substances in it, a lot of professionals will begrudgingly [some less begrudgingly] admit that knowing what goes into the brain doesn't necessarily make it a whole lot easier to guess how those substances interact with each other.
here's a few weird facts from the history of mental illness that may make you scratch your head, if only to make sure that there isn't anyone else trying to poke around in there.
|just what the doctor ordered|
fortunately, the medical aid industry came to the rescue by inventing a mechanical massager that didn't get tired and that seemed to get more reliable results.
through the twentieth century, diagnoses of female hysteria declined and the condition was eventually discredited. strangely, though, the cure is still a hot seller. it just isn't covered by public or private insurance anymore.
samuel cartwright was a lauded physician in his lifetime and was particularly considered an expert on the physiology and health of african americans. he is chiefly remembered now for "discovering" the mental disorder "drapetomania", a condition that made slaves want to escape their masters and live as free men. because, of course, anyone seeking to leave the conditions of slavery must clearly be insane...
cartwright theorised that one of the causes of the disorder was the type of slave owners who tended to make the slave feel like an equal, a peer, someone who was a familiar and not merely property.
sigmund freud, whose work and theories still largely shapes our understanding of psychology today, was for years a great advocate of cocaine as a cure for depression and as an analgesic. like aspirin. but not really.
|"you won't feel a thing. no, wait WE won't feel a thing."|
despite the fact that questions about the treatment and about sakel's data started to surface almost as soon as he went public, i.s.t. continued to be used as late as the 1970s. behold the speed of informed progress.
these are just a few cautionary anecdotes from the historical archives. the good news is that we are getting better at figuring out how our grey matter works. the bad news is, that's what these guys told their patients, too.