Early writings from such ancient civilizations as those of Greece, Rome, India, and Egypt focused on demonic possession as the cause. This concept eventually disappeared only to resurface again in the Middle Ages in Europe, along with inadequate treatment of the mentally ill. Demons or "foul spirits" were believed to attach themselves to individuals and make then depressed "poor-spirited" or "mad." The word mad became an early synonym for psychosis. Unfortunately, the "possessed" included people with seizure disorders as well as others suffer from what are now known to be medical disorders.
The early Babylonian and Chinese civilizations also viewed mental illness as possession, and used exorcism which sometimes involved beatings, restraint, and starvation to drive the evil spirits from their victim, unfortunately this inhumane practice normally resulted in death or the need for lifelong care. The mentally ill were not recognized as sick people and were accused of having abandoned themselves to shameful and taboo practices with the devil, sorcerers and other demons (unbelievably there are people who still believe this today). The mentally ill were accused of having succumbed to spells, incantations and of having committed many sinful offences and crimes. At best the odds, few would actually lead to an improvement in the patient’s health. Although the methods of handling the mentally ill and medical procedures could be considered barbaric by present- day standards, the vast majority of people were content because the “mad” were no longer visible in society.
On the other hand, some historians of medicine cite evidence that even in the Middle Ages, many people believed mental illness to have its basis in physical and psychological disturbances, such as imbalances in the four bodily humors (blood, black bile, yellow bile, and phlegm), poor diet, and grief.
European medieval doctors continued to be a part of the religious lifestyle the ensnared nearly every walk...