Mental Disorders Over Time

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Mental disorders over time

The human being over time has tried to respond to issues such as mental disorders, this has led them to believers, philosophers and scientists to create hypotheses that have become accepted by certain periods of time, however many of them be exposed to science have been forgotten. The importance of knowing what is the evolution of mental disorders lies in expanding the vision that people have on this issue.

The first indications about metal problems are found in prehistory, about 8000 to.C With a surgical intervention called Trepanation, this “curative” measured consisted of making a hole in the skull, according to the theorists this practice served to get the demonic spirits that altered the behavior of the individual. Another practice used in antiquity to get demons were exorcism , others were given unpleasant brews including blood, excrement and wine.

As time progressed, people felt more curiosity about human behavior, this is how in Greece, mental disorders were considered as natural phenomena that could be rationally treated (Sarason & Saraason, 2006). The first philosopher to try to give a scientific position was Hippocrates with his humorist theory, which would later be extended by Galen, in the theory the mental illnesses in two paradigms are classified: the mania that was produced by an excess either of the humor bile bile yellow or blood, and Menlancolia due to an excess of black bile (Salaverry, 2012).

The search for the explanation of abnormal behavior based on reason reached its interruption in the Middle Ages, after the fall of Greek culture and the emergence of the Roman Empire, accompanied by Christianity, revived beliefs in magic and witchcraft, This led to mental illnesses as a form of demonic possession, and the people looking for help were listed as sorcerers, sinners or incarnations of the devil. Although the ideas of demonology at this time were in its peak, the interest in humanism led to doctor Johann Weyer to insist on the needs of treating diseases with medicine and not with theology. According to Saraason & Sarason, Weyer’s writings play an important role in the separation of theology and psychology, since he also described some mental disorders such as depression, psychosis, recurring nightmares, among others.

For the seventh and sixth century reason and positivism had replaced faith and dogmas as ways of understanding the world, consequently many philosophers and scientists rejected the idea that demons and supernatural causes were responsible for mental problems , many examples are found in the works of William Shakespeare, especially in Hamlet where the protagonist’s neurotic conflicts led him to kill his uncle (Sarason & Saraason, 2006). During the sixth century William Cullen driven by John Locke’s interpretations about the mind as a blank sheet, he postulated that madness was due to an unusual association that gave rise to wrong judgments, after this statement Thomas Arnold broadly broad Disorders in: Those who had delusions and those who had hallucinations, both caused by a chaotic relationship of sensations and ideas.

On the other hand, it is worth mentioning the importance they had in the sixth century characters such as: Vicenzo Chiarugi, Philippe Pinel and Jean Pussin since being participants in the Reform such as: hygiene guidelines, adequate facilities, minimum use of repression, respect for their individual dignity and the release of chains patients. Despite the new changes and the growing interest adopted in the hospitals of America and Europe, there was still inhuman and constant treatment for mental diseases.

Finally, for 1844, thanks to a group of 13 APA administrators, they gave rise to the medical model, which mentions that psychological disorders result from physical problems and must be medically treated. From this moment on characters such as William Greisinger and Emil Kraepelin developed contributions in the field of psychiatry by classifying the different types of psychological disorders, at the same time that the medical model had its peak the psychoanalytic model also sought to give explanations to the problems of the human conduct.

As can be seen mental disorders from primitive societies have had a great impact on the worldview of the human being, leading abnormal behavior to be interpreted as supernatural manifestations, until the arrival of medical models that explain a systematic vision of the problem. However, in some current cultures, certain erroneous beliefs about mental illnesses can still be distinguished, which is why it is very important to know what its history is, in order not to fall into pseudoscientific models.


  • Halgin, r., & Whitbourne, S. (2004). Psychology of abnormality. Mexico: McGraw-Hill .
  • Salaverry, or. (2012). The stone of madness: historical beginnings of mental health. Peruvian Magazine of Experimental Medicine and Public Health, 143-148. DOI: http: //
  • Saraason, i., & Saraason, B. (2006). Psychopathology, abnormal psychology: the problem of misfit behavior. Mexico: Pearson Education .  

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