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10 Shocking Psychiatric Treatments That Once Existed

Over the years, we have heard stories of mental institutes offering only the most frightening techniques to their patients. We can feel safe that none are in common practice today.

In this following list, be prepared for the shocking truth and a look into what psychiatric patients had to deal with on a daily basis to cure them of their ‘troubles’. This was after all a time when something as common as depression would earn you a spot in the mad house, your only cure? Getting your brains fried…

10. Insulin-Coma Therapy



It would appear intentionally putting people in a coma was a trend that caught on in 1927. Accidentally ‘invented’ by Manfred Sakel, he gave one of his diabetic patients an overdose of insulin putting her in a coma. The woman, a drug addict, woke up from her unconscious state declaring her addiction to morphine had gone.

This happened again during another accidental overdose, so Sakel then decided to dose them up intentionally which, surprisingly enough, produced a 90% success rate. This trend soon went out of fashion because coming out of a coma is not an easy task for anyone, causing 1-2% of patients to die.

9. Hydrotherapy



At the beginning of and throughout the 20th century, Hydrotherapy had become a massively popular form of treatment for those who had a mental illness. One form of Hydrotherapy was named the ‘continuous bath’, used for patients with insomnia, those who were agitated or those with suicidal tendencies.

The patient would be put in a bath tub which was then covered with a canvas sheet, strapped down to the sides of the tub, leaving a hole for the head to protrude from. Fresh water at body temperature would continuously be poured, while old water would constantly drain away. Immersed up to the chin, they would be left in the bath for several hours or even days.

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