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A Historical Overview of Mental Illness Treatment

The treatment for manic depression, schizophrenia, and autism has changed dramatically over the course of history.

Manic depression, also known as bipolar disorder, is a mental disorder in which a person's mood alternates between mania and depression. In the manic stage a person may feel energetic, self-important, and elated, whereas in the depressive stage the person is likely to experience intense sadness, negative thinking, and indifference to things that used to bring them happiness.


Schizophrenia is a neurological disorder that can now be controlled. Its most apparent and disabling symptoms include hearing voices, extreme apathy, delusions, disorganized speech, withdrawl, and diminished emotions. It is also characterized by psychotic episodes in which the sufferer is unable to determine between what is real and what is not. Almost 1% of the world's population will develop schizophrenia in their lifetimes, but 60% of the patients will obtain successful treatment. Treatment for schizophrenia has changed dramatically since the disease was first acknowledged and now the disease can be controlled so that patients can lead normal lives.



Autism is an emotional, mental, and behavioral disorder that first becomes apparent in early childhood. The disorder has three notable features that include a difficulty relating to others, an engagement in repetitive behaviors, and a need for sameness and control in the person's daily routine. Since its discovery in 1943, autism has puzzled scientists and as a result of this inadequate understanding of the disorder there is no absolute cure for autism, but there are many methods that are effective in helping an autistic child function in the real world. Still, there is hope that research will lead to an even more effective treatment or even a possible prevention.