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Old 11-14-2014, 11:17 AM
 
Location: portland, me
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Don't forget that the world's population has exploded. More people, more problems. It is also easier for us to diagnose, and broadcast the ailments of others.
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Old 11-14-2014, 11:24 AM
 
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Humans have always been the same.

It's the definitions, the boundaries, the descriptions, and labels that have changed.

Compare it to a map of the Earth, or your town. The land was the same (unless we go so far back, say millions of years, when California was 'under the ocean'. But for sake of your post, going back to the 60's is not that much time)

The land was the same, but a boundary was drawn to outline a state. Today, that boundary is redrawn a bit bigger, so the state is bigger.

But boundaries are invisible concepts held in our collective mind.

Mental illness, depending on 'which one', is just a definition created by us. If I said, "believing in aliens" is mental illness, then sure it existed in the 60's, and so does today, but probably a lot less, because I'm sure less people today believe in aliens (the green kind).
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Old 11-14-2014, 11:42 AM
bg7
 
7,697 posts, read 8,627,545 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevxu View Post
I thought that his point is that it seems to be a virtual epidemic in current society, and alphabet soup of mental illness and syndromes, and he is wondering if this same condition was the case in the past.

I wonder this myself sometimes. I grew up in a small town in the Forties and Fifties, and the number of elderly people with dementia seemed very few, so few you knew who they were. Now that same town has a residence devoted entirely to people with AZ and every room is taken. My aunt was the last resident who was not admitted for dementia or AZ, and this was in the early 90's.

The average lifespan in the 40s was about 15 years less than it is today. Dementia is primarily a disease of aging. Logically, one would expect to see many more people with dementia nowadays than in the 40s.
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Old 11-14-2014, 12:19 PM
 
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
6,299 posts, read 3,187,860 times
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Quote:
I think adhd, the extent of it is influenced by modern culture. Not enough free time, not enough exercise. Too much screen time. Etc. But that is my personal experience. I also think kids are misdiagnosed greatly.
Never before in history has the human race made refined sugar and refined starch a staple diet. I would be most surprised if health disorders, both physical and mental were not on the increase. Poor nutrition is not new though.

The ancient Egyptians as great and advanced as they were, suffered from tuberculoses (the disease was found in mummies - the Pharaohs and nobility).

The ancient Romans used lead cookware and pipes so one should expect mental illness caused by lead toxicity.
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Old 11-17-2014, 10:02 AM
 
Location: St. Louis
10,016 posts, read 17,950,249 times
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I"ve always thought Daniel Boone had ADHD after reading his biography. Hitler and Stalin and Vlad the Impaler and others were very likely psychopaths. They used to build little cages to confine the mentally insane. I could go on and on but I think you guys get my point. However, I do think that unhealthful food and the unbalance of gut bacteria has a lot to do with a lot of it, esp depression, ADHD, and autism.
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Old 11-17-2014, 09:37 PM
 
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
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Quote:
... and autism.
I've been wondering about that.
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Old 11-19-2014, 12:30 AM
 
Location: Purgatory
6,322 posts, read 5,029,922 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bg7 View Post
The average lifespan in the 40s was about 15 years less than it is today. Dementia is primarily a disease of aging. Logically, one would expect to see many more people with dementia nowadays than in the 40s.

Also, psychosis and depression *usually* first show up in the 20s and we didn't live much longer on average a few hundred years ago. As has been said above, mental illness was largely seen as "demons," or "witchcraft." People suffered through it.

I believe that a lot of people probably killed their children, or abandoned them, if they were retarded in ANY way. There was no birth control so people were having more kids. From an evolutionary POV, more kids means each one gets less resources. We didn't "waste resources" on the "difficult" back in the day because this would hasten our own deaths.
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Old 11-19-2014, 07:48 AM
 
4,761 posts, read 11,731,876 times
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Historians tend to portray humans back in history as being less intelligent, stupid, incapable of using tools, etc.

But people in history were JUST AS SMART as we are today! They could apply their combined intelligence to solve problems, build things, determine there was a problem with something.

So just imagine all of us people here today... Then take away all the modern gizmos and tools. We would still be able to think intelligent things!

As an example, I think the Egyptians could diagnose diabetes. They did not have urine test strips or electronic glucose meters - rather they had someone "taste" the urine for a sweet taste. Not high tech, but it worked.

So far as mental illness, people know these days when someone is "nuts". I should think they could tell that just as easily way back when.
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Old 11-19-2014, 07:28 PM
 
Location: Purgatory
6,322 posts, read 5,029,922 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Billy_J View Post
Historians tend to portray humans back in history as being less intelligent, stupid, incapable of using tools, etc.

But people in history were JUST AS SMART as we are today! They could apply their combined intelligence to solve problems, build things, determine there was a problem with something.

So just imagine all of us people here today... Then take away all the modern gizmos and tools. We would still be able to think intelligent things!

As an example, I think the Egyptians could diagnose diabetes. They did not have urine test strips or electronic glucose meters - rather they had someone "taste" the urine for a sweet taste. Not high tech, but it worked.

So far as mental illness, people know these days when someone is "nuts". I should think they could tell that just as easily way back when.

But the stigma of being "nuts" has been arguably on par w leprosy for the last few centuries. I can't imagine that there was an "enlightened" period of history regarding the subject and then we regressed.

There were no major advances in psychiatric disorders in history until mid 19th century. I'm sure bloodletting, exorcism, etc had *some* placebo affect once in a while. . . .
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