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History of Mental Health Treatment


PBS published an online Timeline on Treatments for Mental Illness,

which shows that many kinds of treatments for mental problems

have been tried over time.  The timeline shows that  beginning in

400 BC, the Greek physician Hippocrates treats mental disorders

as diseases to be understood in terms of disturbed physiology,

rather than reflections of the displeasure of the gods.  The timeline

progresses until the 1990's and makes for interesting and informative


Book Resources

  • Foucault, Michel. Folie et deraison- Histoire de la folie a l’age classique, English Translation: Madness and civilization – a history of insanity in the Age of Reason, New York: Vintage Books, 1988, c. 1965.

  • Grob, Gerald N. The Mad Among Us – A History of the Care of America’s Mentally Ill, Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1994.

  • Powers, Ron. No One Cares About Crazy People – the chaos and heartbreak of mental health in America, Hachette Books, 2017.

  • Torrey, E. Fuller. American Psychosis – How the Federal Government Destroyed the Mental Illness Treatment System, Oxford University Press, 2014.

  • Whitaker, Robert. Mad in America- Bad Science, Bad Medicine, and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally Ill, Cambridge: Perseus Publishing, 2001.

  • Whitaker, Robert. Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America, Crown, 2010.



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