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Essay On Mental Illness In The 1950s

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Comparing Mental Illness in the 1950s and Present Day

In America, one in five adults has a mental health condition, a staggering statistic. Appreciatively, recovery is the goal in the mental health centers of 2017. Nevertheless, in the 1950s, patients were provided with inhumane treatments such as lobotomies. Ken Kesey’s novel, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, provides an accurate portrayal of a psychiatric ward in the 1950s. The antagonist, Nurse Ratched, hopes her patients will not recover and manipulates them to gain authority. In contrast with the past, Nurses of the present day treat individuals with respect. Conduct towards mentally ill patients has changed since the 1950s in ways such as public attitude, medication, and
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While understanding of mental illness has increased since the 1950s, public opinion has only become worse. Another change since the 1950s, is the medication given to patients.

The 1950s saw several developments in medications such as antipsychotics. The term antipsychotic refers to medicines or drugs that are primarily needed to manage psychosis. They are usually used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, though they can be helpful for other mental health problems such as severe depression. In One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, a patient called Chief Bromden, describes his surroundings after taking medication. He said, “The words come to me like water, it’s so thick. In fact it’s so much like water it floats me right up out of my chair and I don’t know which end is up for a while. Floating makes me a little sick to the stomach at first. I can’t see a thing. I never had it so thick it floated me like this.” (Kesey 133) The quote gives an accuate picure of how an antipsychotic would work. Chlorpromazine, the first anitpsychotic, was synthesized in 1950 by the French pharmacuetical company Rhône-Poulenc. It was followed by the creation of many other drugs with diverse chemical structures. In 1954, another
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