The notion of an asylum, which served as a shelter for mentally retarded individuals, first appeared in the 18th century. The mother-country of the institution was England. Since that time, the experts and historians argue about the sources of asylums evolvement and verify multiple versions, which could clarify its sudden outbreak. According to the traditional theory, it is claimed that humanitarian progress allowed the doctors of the 18th century to distinguish a new form of a disease that revealed itself in a form of lunacy or irrational behavior. However, the history of mental institutions cites multiple examples, which certify that the innovation possessed rather a social nature. Thus, according to the theory of social control, the ruling class of England created madhouses so that to show the labor classes the real nature of mental recovery and discard the beliefs of religious remedy, which existed among the citizens at that time. In this way, wealthy Anglicans established a new form of social manipulation.Mental Institutions’ Historical Background Essay
Moreover, some experts claim that the introduction of asylums was a direct consequence of Industrial revolution and was rather viewed as a commercial step than a follow-up of the scientific discovery. Specifically, it is argued that, in the 18th century, the world of trade passed a stage of service marketing boom. Therefore, the innovation created a new area of private entrepreneurship, which brought a substantial source of income for multiple owners of madhouses. The theory is often known under the name of “lunacy trade.” Except for bringing much profit to the individual proprietors, the type of mental business opened up a range of new positions. In the book on psychiatry for the rich, the absurdity of the tendency is interpreted in the following way: “Madhouses and mad-doctors arose from the same soil that generated demand for general practitioners, dancing masters, man-midwives, face painters, drawing tutors…” (MacKenzie 12).
A substantial growth of madhouses occurred in the 19th century. In this period, the so-called theory of architecture became famous among the U.S. citizens. According to it, the only way, in which the patients could have been cured, was a luxury provision. In other words, the medical experts believed that a surrounding environment and extreme comfort were the most key prerequisites of mental recovery. Therefore, in the 19th century, a range of fancy asylums were built. The buildings of madhouses mostly represented the examples of medieval art and evolved into the forms of luxurious Greek cottages and temples. The innovation gave a new rise to the profession of an architect, which became highly values among the American asylum proprietors. At the same time, the luxuriousness of madhouses became a subject for social disparities and arguments, for it created a substantial lapse between the level of life of the ordinary citizens and mentally disabled people. Moreover, the innovation made lunacy treatment inaccessible for the lower ranks of American population since fancy asylums charged high fees for their services.Mental Institutions’ Historical Background Essay
In fact, the scientific exploration of insanity nature revealed that intellectual disabilities were mostly bound with social and financial instability. Thus, the psychologists came to the conclusion that madness could arise on two grounds. First, it was a direct consequence of multiple physical injuries. Second, it evolved from childhood traumas and repeated right abuses. Since both factors emphasized the aspect of poorness and depravity, a treatment of wealthy patients seemed absurd. Therefore, private madhouses started to accept the representatives of margin and inferior social cohorts. Nevertheless, the culture of inequality proceeded to exist within the asylums. Thus, needy patients were not allowed to use any facilities that were provided by the institutions, which initiated multiple fights among the clients of asylums (Yanni 9). Therefore, the nature of psychiatric treatment in the 19th century is quite inefficient since it is propriety-oriented rather than directed on patients.