If you hear someone using the word lobotomy nowadays, nine times out of ten it generally refers to a cold lame person, in a dark prankful way. In the mid 20th century though, this was a complete different matter. This procedure was widely spread
throughout, and it was used to treat diseases such as schizophrenia, depression but also mood swings (a renowned case being Rosemary Kennedy). Doctor António Egas Moniz invented lobotomy in 1936 and with it he won a Nobel prize. For the following two decades, the operation saw its peak, to the point that it was utilized even for conditions such as minor aches and chronic back pain.
The stats of how much this practice was utilised is fairly striking.
Between the 1940 and the1950 it is counted that 40,000 patients in the US and 10,000 in Europe got lobotomised
Lobotomy became so popular as back then there was no other alternative for treating mental illness as well as this was a way to ease the workload of social services. In a moment where asylums were still used to cure sindroms like depression or monomania “(aka monomania of pride), the cost of each patient was high, therefore
lobotomy was an appealing quick loophole.
Lobotomy started going out of fashion between mid and end of 1950 for several reasons. People realized that one of the outcomes of such an operation was the complete loss of personality, resulting in turning their patients into zombie-like people. When they opened their eyes about this, the amount of opponents to this medical trend grew up rapidly. Besides that, neuroleptics drugs(antipsychotics) phenothiazines based such as chlorpromazine became available on a large scale: the advantage of going chemically was obtaining a similar result to a surgical solution but avoiding permanent effects.
Subsequently the surgical approach was completely replaced by anaesthesia
Today lobotomy is a rare procedure yet still performed in a lighter version in patients affected by severe epilepsy, when drug treatments have no effect.
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