History of psychiatric institutions  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The story of the rise of the lunatic asylum and its gradual transformation into, and eventual replacement by, the modern psychiatric hospital, is also the story of the rise of organised, institutional psychiatry. While there were earlier institutions that housed the 'insane' the arrival at the answer of institutionalisation as the correct solution to the problem of madness was very much an event of the nineteenth century. To illustrate this with one regional example, in England at the beginning of the nineteenth century there were, perhaps, a few thousand 'lunatics' housed in a variety of disparate institutions but by 1900 that figure had grown to about 100,000. That this growth should coincide with the growth of alienism, later known as psychiatry, as a medical specialism is not coincidental.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "History of psychiatric institutions" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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