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The History Of Lobotomy

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Science is not just about math and inventions because everything about it is complicated. It is a bit dicey. Sometimes, people discover and experiment on things without the possibility of getting the same result. It is like creating things and using them differently. Everything is a bit benign, and science can either be good or bad. And sometimes, individuals learn stuff from their scientific endeavor that leads them to the most erroneous conclusion and application. One better example of this madness that entirely changed the way science gets perceived is the process of lobotomy.

It was in the 21st century when a Portuguese physician Antonio Moniz introduced the process of lobotomy. For a lot of people in his era, the whole thing about lobotomy is remarkable and effective in treating different types of mental conditions. After winning a Nobel Prize, surgeons, neuroscientists, and physicians across the world welcomed and began adopting its method and continue administering it to mentally ill patients.  However, lobotomy might have been the best way to treat mental illness at that time, but the truth doesn’t lie. Irrevocably, it is destructive and far worse than inhumane. And yet, Moniz received a Nobel Prize in the history of medicine for the destructive mental health approach.

How It All Started

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What made lobotomy controversial way back was its few knowledge and studies that do not support strong evidence when it comes to brain functions. At that time, the process only relies on a few scenarios and records of few brain injuries. It does not hold a foundation of specifically knowing what is happening in the human brain. But not until the case of Phineas Gage come in hand. He was a railroad worker that experienced an accidental explosion where a railroad spike got stuck in his head. The spike stabbed in Phineas frontal lobe, but amazingly, he survived. However, after a few months of recovery, people noticed the changes in his personality. His friends and family then complain about him becoming mean and aggressive. That is because the part of his frontal lobe that damaged by the spike is the orbitofrontal cortex. It is the one responsible for handling and controlling emotions.

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Before it gets called as lobotomy, it was John Fulton who began the process of cutting out chimpanzees’ section of brains to know how it will affect their behavior. It was then when he noticed that the chimps began exhibiting inappropriate behavior right after he took their frontal lobe. When he found out that his methods were similar to Phineas case, Fulton then presented his findings at the 1935 London 2nd Annual International Neurological Conference. And in that conference was Antonio Egas Moniz.

Moniz got interested in Fulton’s research. He then thought of it as a fundamental basis to his unsupported theory that mental conditions were caused by malfunctioning brain cells in the frontal cortex. That is where Moniz proposed the procedure, based on Fulton’s work, in the aim to know and destroy the malfunctioning brain cells. But damages began when he perform lobotomy to several patients. Yes, most of the patients appear not to display any more symptoms of mental illness. However, these people began to feel emotionless. Permanently, in the attempt of removing the cause of mental illness by drilling out skulls and brain, lobotomy was unintentionally removing what made the patients’ human.

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Treatment Of The Mentally Ill Throughout History (The Better View)

Throughout all the changes and acknowledgment of different treatments for mental illness, the period where different types of treatment emerged. The 20th Century became an era of hopes and possibilities. It is the time where mental illness became less than a taboo and more of public concern. With that, people’s approach began to change, as well.

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20th Century (A Promising Era)

A lot of people that are ill for or less more than a year appear cured because they followed self-care instructions and community therapy in asylums. The success of these people’s recovery made it possible for more asylums to pop up all over different countries, especially in Europe and the US. The experts became open to possibilities and options, so they attempted to experiment methods. These include hypnotism, talk therapy, as well as psychoanalysis.

Along with the rampant growth of classified insane people, the first effort to conduct a surgical treatment also became an option. It was lobotomy. It received a high level of appreciation and acknowledgment in history. However, after the detrimental effect of the procedure began to emerge, lobotomy was dishonored all over the country. And eventually, around the world.

In return of veterans from World War II, these individuals received a more intensive and improved mental illness treatment. Though some experts still believe in segregation and isolation of mentally ill people, the process then gets ignored. In the course of this era, a lot of medical experts allowed patients to have freedom. They refer to them as “outpatients” who can live with their families and have a healthy life. However, the problem began when people do not acknowledge the need for necessary psychological treatment anymore. As a result, many of these patients’ condition became worse.

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21st Century

In this era, there had been a lot of advancement in treatments and understanding of the mental illness. However, the problem is now worse because patients seem no longer accepted in public due to their conditions. People view these less fortunate individuals as less competent. With that, mentally ill individuals started to avoid social interactions which eventually created a stigma. Almost all of them are now afraid of choosing to get better; that is why they prefer to lose it than cure it. The 21st Century is the period where mental illness receives a lot of attention. More and more mental health experts are becoming willing to help. However, it became a standard that only those who experience physical dysfunctionality should receive necessary treatments. Those people that can still control their mental state at some point are considered less of a burden.

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Recent

As years pass by, mental health gets categorized in many forms. The signs and symptoms are now visible and identifiable. With that, the development of more modern treatments started to emerge. There are different types of drugs and various kinds of therapies. These include cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), supportive psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, and behavioral therapy, etc. These treatments prove that humans have come a long way in addressing mental illness. However, it shouldn’t stop there. There is still a lot that needs improvement, and a guarantee of getting there is possible.

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