By Richard Noll
In 1895 there has been no longer a unmarried case of dementia praecox mentioned within the usa. by way of 1912 there have been tens of millions of individuals with this prognosis locked up in asylums, hospitals, and jails. via 1927 it was once fading away . How may this sort of poor disorder be came across, have an effect on such a lot of lives, after which develop into whatever else?In shiny element, Richard Noll describes how the invention of this mysterious affliction gave wish to the overworked asylum medical professionals that they can eventually explain—though they can now not cure—the depressing sufferers surrounding them. the tale of dementia praecox, and its eventual substitute by way of the hot idea of schizophrenia, additionally finds how asylum physicians fought for his or her personal respectability. If what they have been staring at was once a illness, then this organic truth was once amenable to medical study. within the early 20th century, dementia praecox used to be psychiatry’s key into an more and more science-focused scientific profession.But for the instant, not anything can be performed to assist the victims. whilst the idea that of schizophrenia provided a clean knowing of this illness, and desire for a remedy, psychiatry deserted the outdated illness for the recent. during this dramatic tale of a vanished prognosis, Noll exhibits the co-dependency among a illness and the clinical prestige of the occupation that treats it. The ghost of dementia praecox haunts today’s debates concerning the most modern new release of psychiatric problems. (20111027)
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Additional info for American Madness: The Rise and Fall of Dementia Praecox
But even at a young age Meyer did not suffer fools gladly, and he expressed his rage or disdain coldly rather than heatedly. His occasional lack of tact and his ever-present undertone of arrogance extended to his writings. His intellectual gifts allowed him to seize upon the weakness of any theory or method, but his manner of expressing such insights could sometimes be quite harsh. “You know, Dr. 14 After a few weeks in New York Meyer found his way to Chicago. He applied for an Illinois medical license and, after paying the fee, got it within two weeks.
This would mark a rise in rank and institutional power equal to that of as- ADOLF ME YER BRINGS DEMENTIA PRAECOX TO AMERICA 43 sistant physician. Still unsure of himself, Meyer refused. “You know all about my irritability and ner vousness,” he wrote to his brother on 21 August 1893. ”19 Meyer also got permission to construct a document containing a structured interview for an alienist to follow when conducting the initial evaluation. Such interviews were usually conducted when the patient was placed in the bathtub directly after admission, and some alienists spent no more than three to five minutes recording a history from new patients.
Most newly hired attendants T H E W O R L D O F T H E A M E R I C A N A L I E N I S T, 1 8 9 6 35 had no previous experience and received no formal instruction once on the job. They lived on the asylum grounds, worked eleven- to fourteenhour shifts six days a week (four hours off was granted one day a week in most institutions, meaing a shift of perhaps only seven hours on the seventh day of work) and were meagerly paid. Turnover rates were high. 44 The effectiveness of alienists therefore depended primarily on their working relationships with nurses and attendants who were often illiterate, uneducated, indifferent, and, at times, abusive to the patients.