Throughout the course of history mankind's treatment of the insane has been, well, insane!
While the day-to-day care of patients could be cruel, attempts at curing them could be even crueler.
Everything from medieval chiseling of the skull to "let the devil escape" to the 1940's ice-pick lobotomies of Dr. Walter Freeman. In 1276, then Pope John XXI, who wrote several medical treatises, suggested that eating a roasted mouse "doth heal frantick persons.
" In the 16th Century it was believed that stones in the head caused madness. This belief is perpetuated in the oft-heard cliche "rocks in the head."
Dr. Benjamin Rush (1745-1813), a pioneer of early American psychiatry, recommended relentlessly swinging the patient around to "shake out the madness."
As the politics of forced treatment once again reared it's ugly head and the short era of moral treatment introduced by Dr. Philippe Pinel faded from sight, novelist Charles Dickens wrote:
"Chains, straw, filthy solitude, darkness and starvation; jalap, syrup of buckthorn, tartarised antimony and ipecacuanha administered every spring and fall in fabulous
doses to every patient, whether well or ill; spinning in whirligigs, corporal punishment, gagging, continued intoxication; nothing was too wildly extravagant, nothing too monstrously cruel to be prescribed by mad-doctors."