Tag Archives: asylums

New Issue of History of Psychiatry

A new issue of History of Psychiatry is now online. Included in this issues are articles on racial issues in psychiatry in China and the United States, the admission of medical doctors as patients in English asylums, the history of the insanity defence in Australia, and much more. Full titles, authors, and abstracts follow below.

“Hebephrenia: A conceptual history,” by Abdullah Kraam and Paula Phillips. The abstract reads,

This paper traces the conceptual history of hebephrenia from the late nineteenth century until it became firmly embedded into modern psychiatric classification systems. During this examination of the origins and the historical context of hebephrenia it will be demonstrated how it became inextricably linked with twentieth-century notions of schizophrenia. The first detailed description of hebephrenia in 1871 by Ewald Hecker, then a virtually unknown German psychiatrist, created a furore in the psychiatric establishment. Within a decade hebephrenia was a firmly embedded concept of adolescent insanity. Daraszkiewicz, Kraepelin’s brilliant assistant in Dorpat, broadened Hecker’s concept of hebephrenia by including severe forms. This paved the way for Kraepelin to incorporate it together with catatonia as a subtype of dementia praecox. We recognize Hecker’s hebephrenia in DSM-IV as schizophrenia, disorganized type. Although DSM-5 will probably abolish subtypes of schizophrenia, characteristic features of hebephrenia will be found within the proposed domains of disorganization, restricted emotional expression and avolition.

“The limits of comparison: Institutional mortality rates, long-term confinement and causes of death during the early twentieth century,” by Waltraud Ernst. The abstract reads, Continue reading New Issue of History of Psychiatry

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Tropical Neurasthenia and Leprosy Asylums

The Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences has just posted two forthcoming articles on its website. Anna Crozier (pictured left), of the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, has written on the history of tropical neurasthenia in British East Africa. In “What Was Tropical about Tropical Neurasthenia? The Utility of the Diagnosis in the Management of British East Africa,” Crozier explores the diagnosis of tropical neurasthenia in the early twentieth century. The abstract reads,

During the first quarter of the twentieth century, tropical neurasthenia was a popular diagnosis for a nervous condition experienced by Europeans in the topics. Tropical neurasthenia was not psychosis or madness, but was rather an ennui or loss of “edge” brought about by the strains of tropical life, especially the unfamiliar, hot climate. A catch-all for a wide range of symptoms, many missionaries, colonial staff, and settlers throughout Empire were repatriated because of it, although this article concentrates on Colonial Service employees working in British East Africa. While histories of tropical neurasthenia have usefully (and correctly) explained this diagnosis as an expression of the anxieties of the colonial regime, this article adds a new dimension to the historiography by arguing that tropical neurasthenia can only be properly understood as a hybrid form, dependent not only upon the peculiarities of the colonial situation, but also descended from British and American clinical understandings of neurasthenia. Continue reading Tropical Neurasthenia and Leprosy Asylums

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