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American psychiatry: a tortured history
Andrew Scull reflects on the history of psychiatry in the US, and the patients who often suffered through destructive treatments
From the earliest asylums that sold themselves as restorative “retreats”, to the damaging vogue for lobotomies and electric shock therapy, psychiatry in America has gone through many iterations since its origins in the 18th century. Andrew Scull, author of Desperate Remedies, speaks to Rhiannon Davies about the discipline’s complex history.
Andrew Scull is the author of Desperate Remedies: Psychiatry’s Turbulent Quest to Cure Mental Illness (Belknap Press, 2022)
Rhiannon Davies is section editor for BBC History Magazine and our Tudor ambassador, writing a fortnightly newsletter in which she shares the latest Tudor news, anniversaries and content with her audience. She also regularly appears on the award-winning HistoryExtra podcast.
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