Thursday, November 19, 2009


I've been thinking about the difference between the way mood and anxiety disorders were treated in the Victorian era and the way they are treated in our 'modern' age.

In the Victorian era people called periods of severe anxiety or mood trouble 'spells' and recognized life stressors, inheritable factors and disposition as contributors.

In today's age we understand there are several factors which may contribute to mood and anxiety disorders including genetics, thoughts, beliefs, life stressors diet and exercise. We call periods of severe anxiety or mood trouble 'break downs.'

In the Victorian era anxiety and mood disorders were treated with vacations, walks, spring water and time spent with family and friends to support the ailing individual.

In our 'modern' society the treatment is a pill and therapy. Your insurance company will cover only a limited number of sessions based on how long it takes the average individual with a disorder of the same severity and type to feel better. If you need more sessions you can apply for more and a stranger you have never met will determine if more therapy is necessary. If it can proved you are a danger to yourself or others, eg you are going to maim or kill yourself or another person, then you will be hospitalized for as limited a period as possible until you are no longer a danger. The major task of the health providers during your hospital stay is to find the right combination of medications to stabilize you.

Our 'modern' age contains some benefits in mental health treatment I would miss in the Victorian era, medications have a place in treating the mentally ill just as they can help a person with a thyroid conditions. Therapeutic techniques have improved and developed in the last two centuries and mental health problems are beginning to gain understanding from the general public. In the Victorian era many people did not have time to have mood or anxiety disorders because they were too busy trying to survive.

I am concerned by the lack of preventative treatment exercised in today's world. Whys is it necessary to be a danger to self or others in order to receive intensive treatment? Wouldn't insurance companies and employers be better served by healthy employees? Isn't there a benefit to paying an employee to take time to resolve mental health issues?

I've been wondering, that's all.

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