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Reasons for admission into 1800's lunatic asylum.

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They were called "lunatic asylums," or "houses for the criminally insane." Some convicted of crime were locked in these hospitals. Many more mentally ill persons ended up in prisons, jails, and workhouses. In 1880, the Weston Hospital in West Virginia was officially named the West Virginia Hospital for the Insane. The reasons why people were admitted will shock you.

The design of the West Virginia Hospital for the Insane was based on a theory set forth by Dr. Thomas S. Kirkbride and his "moral treatment" of the insane. It included moving patients to pleasant countryside settings, providing air and sunlight, teaching patients to be self sufficient, and to provide patients with activities.

But it was still a Hospital for the Insane, and here are just a few reasons why you could be admitted, according to Marjorie Carr's 1993 pamphlet, taken from the first log book used at Weston.

Asthma
Bad company
Bad habits & political excitement
Bad whiskey
Bite of a rattle snake
Cerebral softening
Crime
Death of sons in the war
Deranged masturbation
Desertion by husband
Disappointed affection
Disappointed love

Dog bite

Domestic affliction

Domestic trouble
Douby about mother’s ancestors

Epileptic fits
Excessive sexual abuse
Excitement as officer
Fall from horse
Female disease
Fever & loss of law suit
Fighting fire
Fits & desertion of husband

Grief
Gunshot wound
Ill treatment by husband
Imaginary female trouble
Immoral life
Imprisonment
Jealousy & religion
Kick of horse
Kicked in the head by a horse
Laziness
Liver and social disease
Loss of arm
Marriage of son
Masturbation & syphillis
Masturbation for 30 years
Menstrual deranged

Mental excitement
Milk fever
Novel reading
Nymphomania
Opium habit
Parents were cousins
Political excitement
Religious enthusiasm
Rumor of husband’s murder or desertion
Seduction
Seduction & dissappointment

Self abuse
Severe labor
Sexual abuse and stimulants
Shooting of daughter
Smallpox
Snuff eating for two years
Sunstroke
Superstition
Supressed masturbation
Supression of menses
Tabacco & masturbation: hysteria
The war
Time of life
Trouble
Vicious vices in early life
Women trouble
Young lady & fear

(original spelling from pamphlet)

Complete list and credits HERE

Photo by J. Yates credit

Visit my website if you are not in a Hospital for the Insane

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