Mental Illness Timeline

  • Period: 460 BCE to 377 BCE

    Hippocrates proposed first classification of mental disorders

    These disorders included: Melancholy, Paranoia, Insanity, Mania, Phrentitis, Panic, Hysteria, Disobedience, and Epilepsy (Kleisiaris, Sfakianakis, & Papathanasiou, 2014). He also linked general behaviors and temperament to the relative balance of four bodily fluids: blood, black bile, yellow bile, and phlegm (Gerig, 2014, p.24). His views and treatments regarding mental illness focused on the physical and mental state of the patient.
  • 1247

    Bethlem Hospital Opens

    Also known as Bedlam, this hospital was the first institution dedicated to the care and treatment of the mentally ill, and although they opened in 1247, they did not begin to care for the mentally ill until the early 1500's (Cross,2012). Such hospitals or institutions were known for housing the homeless, poor, mentally ill, and criminals.
  • William Tuke established the York Retreat

    William Tuke did not agree with the way the mentally ill were being housed and treated in the asylums and institutions, which lead him to establish this retreat. It was not meant to be an institution now a medical establishment, but instead a religious recovery designed to help restore the insane using moral treatments and methods (Charland, 2002).
  • Thomas Story Kirkbride published "On the Construction, Organization, and General Arrangements of Hospitals of the Insane

    This publication gave instructions for the external construction and internal organization of mental hospitals, and was adopted by the American Association of Medical Superintendents in 1850 as the standard by which states and individuals should build and manage mental hospitals (Lillehet, 2002).
  • Indiana was the first state in U.S. to legalize involuntary sterilization

    Involuntary sterilization also known as eugenic sterilization was used to ensure that those viewed as mentally deficient or mentally ill could not reproduce. By 1960 over 60,000 residents of large state facilities that were viewed as either mentally retarded or mentally ill, had been sterilized for eugenic purposes in the United States (Park & Radford, 1998).
  • Clifford Beers published "A Mind that Found Itself"

    This publication discussed Beers' experience as a former mental hospital patient, which included details of the terrible conditions inside these institutions and urged for reforms (Gerig, 2014, p.28). One year later Beers founded the National Committee for Mental Hygeine.
  • Julius Wagner-Jauregg found a cure for Paresis (Syphilis of the Brain)

    He discovered that malaria treatment was a cure for what was then, one of the most serious mental illnesses known. This led to the belief that other mental illnesses had biological roots that could be treated, which led to the application of the medical model for the treatment of mental disorders (Gerig, 2014, p.26).
  • Deep Insulin Coma Therapy used to treat Schizophrenia

    Manfred Joshua Sakel used insulin in doses that would eventually put the patient in full coma, after about an hour, would use glucose to bring the patient of coma and afterwards the patient typically felt hungry but was no longer aware of delusions (Soreff & Bazemore, 2006). This process was not used very long due to the extreme risks of death or neurological damage. Although this method was not used very long, it did signal for the recognition of schizophrenia as a biological disorder.
  • Chlorpromazine began being used as an anti-psychotic

    This was the first drug to be used as an anti-psychotic medication for mental illness. It was more effective than any previous drugs used to control agitation and excitement, and on top of that, it also was effective in relieving psychotic symptoms, such as delusions and hallucinations (Ban, 2007).
  • Mass deinstitutionalization in America

    With the growing number of patients that led to overcrowded mental hospitals and increases in financial spending to fund these hospitals. In 1955 there were approximately 560,000 hospitalized patients (Wittwer, 2016). The process of deinstitutionalization basically involved releasing thousands of mentally ill patients from psychiatric hospitals to community living. Those released were supposed to seek their own treatment, but this was not the case. Sadly, many ended up homeless or incarcerated.