The Theory Of Mental Illness Essay

1916 Words Oct 21st, 2016 8 Pages
The lack of knowledge on how to properly diagnose and treat those with mental illness persisted until the development of behavior therapy in the mid-1950s. Previous to that, the cycle of treatments based on supernatural theories plagued those with mental illness.
Some of the earliest theories, developed from 400 BC to around 200 AD, did not associate mental illness with shame or punishment. Greek physician Hippocrates classified mental illness into four categories: epilepsy, mania, melancholia, and brain fever (Farreras, 2013). A few centuries later, Galen, another Greek physician, opened the door for psychogenic theories on the etiology of mental illness by proposing that experiencing psychological stress could be a potential cause of abnormalities. Galen’s psychogenic explanations were ignored for centuries; while Hippocrates’ theory of humorism, in which an excess of one of the four essential body fluids was believed to cause mental illness, remained relevant to physicians until the 19th century.
Along with the predominance of religion the Middle Ages, and the unrest within the Roman Catholic Church upon the 13th century, supernatural theories became predominant when referring to the mentally ill. Women in particular were persecuted as witches who were possessed (Farreras, 2013). In the late 16th century, Dutch physician Johann Weyer and English parliament member Reginald Scot attempted to convince people that the presumed witches were actually women who were mentally…

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