Harriet Babcock, A Case Of Lobotosis Before And After Lobotomy Procedures?
September 18, 2014
Week 2 Assignment
Treatment for mental health has come a long way in the past couple of decades. In class, we talked about the history of community mental health and where the timeline began. Dating back all the way to the Enlightenment Period, one’s worth was determined solely by whether or not he or she was able to work. The people who were not able to work, or the mentally ill, were incarcerated. You mentioned two men, Tuke and Pinel, who decided to go about treatment for the mentally ill in a more humane way. They released the patients from prison and allowed them to work on communal farms living by the philosophy that “work will liberate you.” Working to find out what exactly …show more content…
After learning briefly about lobotomy in class, I wondered more about the shocking procedure. Lobotomy, by definition (Dictionary 2015), is “a surgical operation involving incision into the prefrontal lobe of the brain, formerly used to treat mental illness.” I found myself asking, what were the effects on a patient after a lobotomy procedure?
I found a relevant article discussing a study done by Harriet Babcock in 1964 entitled, “A Case of Anxiety Neurosis Before and After Lobotomy”. Babcock was a clinical and research psychologist who observed the behavior and intellectual levels of a particular patient before and after the lobotomy procedure had been done. According to Babcock (1964), the patient, “S”, was a 27 year old man who was diagnosed with anxiety neurosis due to neurotic thinking. Babcock stated that he had obvious mental inadequacy as well as outward physical characteristics such as frequent licking of the lips and random sharp intakes of breath. The last means of education he had received was the completion of 8th grade. Since then, Babcock (1964) noted that he had worked at several low level jobs at different hotels but he …show more content…
Not only did the patient receive lower scores on all areas of his academic testing, he also showed poor skills regarding judgment. He was able to hold a job and function fairly normally in society prior to his procedure. Although his scoring on grades depleted, he did say that his obsessions had disappeared. Before taking the second set of tests, he claimed that he felt much better and was very satisfied with all that had been done. I think it is very interesting and worth mentioning that his physical and outward appearance seemed to improve but the same success did not match his intellectual testing. Since this study was only on one particular person, it is hard to form an opinion on the procedure. There are so many things that could have factored in regarding his effects afterwards. That being said, lobotomy still is never an ideal situation is why it is not practiced in this way as treatment today. Like you have mentioned in class, it is much more targeted today, done by a specialist, and much less barbaric. Because this study was done several years ago, I wonder what the results would have been like if they did not perform lobotomy and just treated the patient with medicine and therapy instead. I wish there was more information in this study regarding physiological aspect of things before and after the procedure. My question now asks, what had caused him to feel so good