From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
A psychiatric hospital (also called, at various places and times, mental hospital or mental ward, historically often asylum or lunatic asylum), is a hospital specialising in the treatment of persons with mental illness. Psychiatric wards differ only in that they are a unit of a larger hospital.
Modern psychiatric hospitals evolved from, and eventually replaced the older lunatic asylums. The development of 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 of institutionalisation as a 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 coincided with the growth of alienism, later known as psychiatry, as a medical specialism is not coincidental.
The treatment of inmates in early lunatic asylums was sometimes brutal and focused on containment and restraint. With successive waves of reform, and the introduction of effective evidence-based treatments, modern psychiatric hospitals provide a primary emphasis on treatment, and attempt where possible to help patients control their own lives in the outside world, with the use of a combination of psychiatric drugs and psychotherapy. These treatments can be involuntary and are questioned by the Anti-Psychiatric movement. Most psychiatric hospitals now restrict internet access and any device that can take photos.
- Madness and Civilization
- History of mental illness
- History of psychiatric institutions
- Institutional syndrome
- Kirkbride Plan
- Mental health law
- MindFreedom International
- New Freedom Commission on Mental Health
- Psychiatric survivors movement
- Punitive psychiatry in the Soviet Union
- Treatment Advocacy Center, involuntary treatment proponent group