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Free «Mental Illness» Essay Sample


Mental illness has puzzled those affected and most probably those afflicted by the condition for centuries. The intricate nature of mental health contributes to the mystery surrounding the best way of caring and managing the mentally challenged patients, with the aim of regaining sufficient sensibility for return to functionality. Major steps have been made through concerned efforts of professionals and society.

Introduction and Discussion

The treatment process requires a multifaceted approach that employs iterative intrusions into the individual's mental and physical faculties with the aim of stimulating wide-ranging kinds of responses. Recovery is normally achieved where the patient is able to react in a rational and predictable way, based on the prevailing factors. Among the most prominent contributors to psychiatry are Dix, Pinel and Rush, who dedicated their lives to study and treat those inflicted with madness during eras where stigma was rife in society as postulated by Midgley, et al (2000).

Philippe Pinel, a worker at a sanatorium in France, came up with treatment procedure that was outlined in the 'Memoirs of Madness'. The applicability of his postulations propelled him to found psychiatry in his home country. As suggested by Weiner (1992), Pinel believed that the success in curing mental illness rested on the ability of the psychiatrist to observe and understand the patient regarding his behavior and history of the condition. His suggestions were that mental illness did not strip an individual of his human rights. As a result, he advocated for replacement of hand-chains with straight jackets that were more comfortable but sufficiently restraining. This compassionate approach was observed to reduce the stress levels experienced by the patients and reduce taken for recovery.

Pinel believed in systematic treatment procedure for the mentally ill. The care accorded to the patients was responsible for the grounds achieved in the treatment. As a result, most his patients received basic needs other necessities to enable them recover in a comfortable environment.

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Regardless of their mental state, the response observed from the scenario in the hospital depicted the importance of humane treatment of mentally ill persons. Unlike other forms of sickness, the unpredictability of their conduct complicates the ability of most caregivers to accord them the basic needs. It also becomes difficult to calibrate the use of coercion to achieve the necessary results.

Weiner (1992) posits that Pinel's contribution is significant in that the procedure of diagnosis enables the caregiver to document evidence that is sufficient for a diagnosis and prognosis. As a result, it becomes possible to match expectations with actual results. With this information, it is able to discern the actions that stimulated favorable behavior. Such actions will form a basis for the treatment procedure. Similarly, ample knowledge of the patient enables the caregivers to classify them according to magnitude of recovery. Once placed in those categories, it becomes possible to monitor progress and change the treatment aspects.

Unlike in the previous setting where the mentally were placed in clusters without any progress reports, Pinel outlined a method which enables the doctor to retain control of the recovery process. However, it is possible to that some patient could recidivate and completely become immune to treatment. Owing to the vast resources laid out for the treatment, it becomes imperative that success is assured. Thus, this method is only applicable in totality and under certain conditions.

Similarly, the nature of mental illness makes it impossible for the patient to display recognition features that are indicative of convalescence. The relapsing nature of the illness compromises the reliability of the observed signs. Consequently, any prescribed improvements are purely subjective and rely on the experience of the caregiver. Without sufficient knowledge, it becomes impossible to calibrate success in treatment.

As a teacher, Dorothea was propelled towards advocacy for the rights of the mentally ill. Her experience in education and teaching contributed to her engagement at the Cambridge Jail centre where the situation shocked her senses (Viney, 1999). The blatant abuse of prisoner right and lack of basic needs plagued the prison.

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However, the inclusion of mentally challenged individuals among the convicted felons was of utter disgust to her. Under the guidance of the works of Pinel, she traversed the jailhouses and gathered the necessary data regarding prisoner conditions. The findings of her reports were the basis of funding which saw expansion of the correctional facility to accommodate the different needs of the felons, especially in-house healthcare facilities.

In most of the States she visited, Dorothea suggested that facilities for treatment of curable insanity were a necessity. Such facilities were deemed necessary as a factor contributing to rapid healing. Just like Pinel, she believed that a holistic approach to treatment of mental illness was beneficial in restoring normalcy (Weiner, 1992). However, her contributions were marred with failure owing to the lack of support from bureaucratic systems. Similarly, her work lacked reliable successors and thus most the achievements subsided in her absence.

Muckenhoupt (2004) asserts that Dorothea believed that mentally ill should be accorded a livelihood to occupy their mental faculties. By so doing, the mentally ill will cultivate a niche in their psychological capabilities and develop a cycle though which they can contribute to aspects of life. Such simple actions are bound to propel the individual to exercise judgment and psychological faculties, thereby establishing a connection with the outside world as outlined by Midgley et al (2000). Recreational activities such as movies and magazines were proposed to motivate and stimulate reemergence of mental capacity.

According to Viney (1999), the applicability of this method calls for boundless resources. The time taken by the psychiatrist to appreciate the required activity and components to expose the mentally unstable individual defeats the worth of the results gained, if any. Similarly, the mental illness scatters the possibility of stability of behavior over a specific period. As a result, there were instances where the patient displayed completely different behavior traits, with rapid and unpredictable transitions.

The success of the costly, treatment procedure by Dorothea has come under sharp opposition. Due to her finding, the responsibility of catering for the mentally ill shifted from the relatives to state institutions. In spite of the vast resources availed for the treatment procedure, most patients never return to normalcy and the occupation levels have surpassed any predictions.

Benjamin Rush on his side entered the scenario in 1783, during which stigma and loathe laced the treatment of mentally ill people, especially in the Pennsylvania Hospital. The existing hearsay ad superstition regarding mental illness was nearing it's the terminal stages owing to the fervor with which he undertook research and study into the aspects of mental health. As a member of the pioneer group of American humanitarianism, he championed for the rights of the poor and afflicted. His undeniable success as a physician was borne out of the fact that his methods were seldom standards and often more fatal than the afflictions. As a physician in the Pennsylvania Hospital, he specialized with mentally ill patients and accorded sufficient emphasis on the necessity of professional care of mentally ill patients.

He aimed at classifying mental diseases and treatment procedures to achieve tangible resources (Deutsch, 2008). The treatment procedures were classified as remedies to the body through the mind and the remedy of the mind through the body. Rush believed that through sufficient loss of blood by an insane person, to the point of syncope, was a step closer to restoration to health. He believed that mental health was based on the blood system and characteristics of the arteries.     Consequently, the bloodletting was deemed the best way of ridding the patient of the distress. The belief that the pain experienced had a deterrent factor as well as stimulated desired response from the patient, responses that were most of the times favorable. This was a major deviation from the postulations of Dix and Pinel, who believed that the patient had to be treated with progressive and iterative approaches.

As posited by Rush was of the view that the causative phenomena of mental illnesses was to eradicated from the patient as a means of enabling the patient to recover full. This was also coupled with prescribed dietary composition to reduce the production of too much blood, lest it clogs the brain.


The various ways of dealing with sicknesses are drawn from tried and tested methods whose success is assured. Without the contribution of the above outlined psychiatrists, the steps achieved in the corridors of management of mental illnesses would probably not have measured up to the status quo. As a result, treatment of mental illness based on the above premises has proven beneficial in some aspects in spite of the complications along the way.


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