Sunday, September 02, 2007

Sleep Therapy

Prolonged sleep therapy was believed to have originated with a Scottish physician who was asked in 1897 to transport a manic woman from Japan to Shanghai, a five hundred mile trip. Without any nurses to assist him, the physician decided to put the woman to sleep with a bromide. She reportedly was without mania when she awoke. Modern attempts at prolonged sleep treatment started in the 1920's with the Swiss psychiatrist Klasi who induced sleep through multiple injections of the barbituate, Somnifene. Patients were sent into a drug- induced unconsciousness for a week to a month, with daily awakenings for food and bowel movements. Prolonged narcosis, as it was called, was thought to aid in relaxing and resting the patient's mind. It generally resulted in opiate addiction. Some of the schizophrenic patients improved but sometimes the treatment proved fatal as patients developed pneumonia.
History of Treatments for Schizophrenia and other Madness

The psychiatric community cannot be gentle. Rather than duplicating a normal sleep pattern to test the theory of sleep as treatment, they had to induce extended coma and the pneumonia that went along with it. A coma is not anything like natural sleep. The researchers are striving to find some genetic marker that schizophrenics share. The one thing schizophrenics share is sleeplessness prior to a psychic break but they all dismiss that is just one symptom of the disease. Would you find it hard to trust an occupation that believed in lobotomies for years? Or that inducing fear was considered acceptable treatment? Or told you that drugs that destroyed sections of your brain were like insulin for diabetes?

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