Centuries of neglect and mismanagement have emphasized the fact that insanity is an affliction both singular and terrible, and at the same time a reproach to society, but modern science has proved that the early stages of the disease are as tractable as are those of other diseases, and we are not without hope in the more advanced stages.
While the increase of insanity may be due to heredity, and the strain of modern civilization on weak brains is a most potent factor, certainly the enormous use of narcotics in the shape of tea, coffee, tobacco, and alcohol, not to mention the indiscriminate use of other drugs, is responsible for 75 per cent. of this disease.
In ordinary disease the physician can derive much aid and information from the patient, but with insanity he is more frequently obliged to draw his deductions entirely from existing external conditions, and rely on
SHEPARD CH. INSANITY AND THE TURKISH BATH. JAMA. 1900;XXXIV(10):604–606. doi:10.1001/jama.1900.24610100026001k
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