Cutting the mind: origins of psychosurgery

9789033486388: Cutting the mind: origins of psychosurgery

Psychosurgery refers to the treatment of psychiatric disorders by means of brain surgery. Over the past centuries there has been much controversy regarding psychosurgery. The early decades of the twentieth century witnessed a revolution in the understanding of the functioning of the brain and its role in mental disorders.

In psychiatry probably no other word has a more negative connotation than the word 'lobotomy'. In the years around 1930, psychosurgical procedures were developed and conducted in patients suffering from severe psychiatric disorders. In their desperation, many clinicians tended to resort to extreme expedients. The results of these interventions were irreversible and the consequences often catastrophic. However, one should be aware that at that time, conditions of indescribable misery prevailed in asylums, without any hope for a cure.

The appearance of psychotropic drugs during the 1950s and the bad reputation of the lobotomy resulted in a steady reduction in the number of neurosurgical procedures. Although neurosurgery for the treatment of psychiatric disorders still has to deal with his own past since the last decades, enormous progress has been made. The interest in this discipline has increased significantly, thanks largely to the introduction of stereotactic approaches and the success of stimulation methods.

In this book we will reflect on the pioneers and leading personages of psychosurgery and see to what extent these procedures reached their goal.

Over de auteurs:

MATHEUS ARTS, MD, MSc is resident in psychiatry and researcher at Mental Health Care Western North-Brabant (GGZ-WNB) and University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG) in the Netherlands. His research interests focuses on old age psychiatry, neurosurgery for psychiatric disorders and the use of electromagnetic means for modulating brain function to study and treat psychiatric disorders.

PHILIP MICHIELSEN, MD is psychiatrist, researcher, head of the social psychiatry program and deputy training director in psychiatry at Mental Health Care Western North-Brabant (GGZ-WNB) in the Netherlands. Previously he lectured on the historical framework of hysteria. His research interests focuses on ADHD in adults and the history of psychiatry.

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