Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Old Crazy

On December 4th of last year I wrote a post titled The New Crazy, in which I discussed the pending release of DSM-V, the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. The DSM is the bible of the psychiatric community, containing all the numeric codes*, descriptions, and treatment information for all the officially-recognized forms of mental illness**.

This is all very interesting, but I recently found something even more interesting. Following a series of links led me to an article in Dangerous Minds which provided this list of the reasons why people were admitted to the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in the nineteenth century ... click it to big it:

Now maybe it's just me+, but I think that - according to this list - most of us would have found ourselves in padded cells back then. Consider this brief excerpt from the list:

- Deranged Masturbation. I wouldn't touch my next line with a ten-foot ... uh ... never mind.

- Novel Reading. Sorry, Andrea.

- Political Excitement. Given the miserable display of behavior in Congress and by all sides in the current Virginia governor's race, I can believe it.

- Religious Enthusiasm. I wonder if there's room in the Trans-Allegheny Asylum for the entire Middle East and the extreme right wing of the GOP?

- Sexual Derangement. Um ... no comment.

- Feebleness of Intellect and Over Taxing Mental Powers. I believe this may explain the behavior of many of the more bizarre characters in the House of Representatives.

And the ever-useful,

- Gathering in the Head. I suppose this is what happens when there are too many voices there.

Yes, there's the New Crazy and there's the Old Crazy. Or both. Because I don't think the Old Crazy ever went away ... it just stuck around under an alias.

Have a good day, but don't be crazy about it. More thoughts tomorrow.


* If there isn't a DSM code for your weirdness, the insurance companies won't pay for your treatment.

** "Ass-clownery" is not included, but only because I didn't get a vote.

*** You may recall that I wrote briefly a few weeks ago about our visit to the "Public Hospital of 1773" exhibit in Colonial Williamsburg, which featured displays of how mental illnesses were treated throughout the history of the hospital.  Trust me - you wouldn't have wanted to be treated there in 1773.

+ But I don't think so.


eViL pOp TaRt said...

Excessive study and masturbation are surprises. Apparently, overtaxing the mind was seen as a common problem back then. Bad whiskey, maybe: particularly if methanol was involved.

This is a fascinating glimpse into the 19th century mind. Good find, Bilbo!

KathyA said...

"Punning" isn't on there -- we're good!!

Mike said...

Hard study would put all of Japan in lock up.

Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

It sounds like they could conceive of any excuse to put someone in a mental institution, including some activities that might be regarded as commendable, like nymphomania.

Brandi said...

Those were totally weird and open to abuse if someone wanted a person put away.