The first half of the 20th century will forever be known for a series of radical and invasive physical therapies developed in Europe and North America. Since the beginning of time, world cultures have treated mentally and physically challenged individuals in different ways. During the early 1900s, the medical community began developing some bizarre treatments. Some examples include barbiturate induced deep sleep therapy, which was invented in 1920. Deep sleep therapy was a psychiatric treatment based on the use of drugs to render patients unconscious for a period of days or weeks. Needless to say, in some cases the subjects simply did not wake up from their comas. Deep sleep therapy was notoriously practiced by Harry Bailey between 1962 and 1979, in Sydney, at the Chelmsford Private Hospital.
Twenty-six patients died at Chelmsford Private Hospital during the 1960s and 1970s. Eventually, Harry Bailey was linked to the deaths of 85 patients. In 1933 and 1934, doctors began to use the drugs insulin and cardiazol for induced shock therapy. In 1935, Portuguese neurologist António Egas Moniz introduced a procedure called the leucotomy (lobotomy). The lobotomy consisted of cutting the connections to and from the prefrontal cortex, the anterior part of the frontal lobes of the brain. The procedure involved drilling holes into the patient’s head and destroying tissues surrounding the frontal lobe. Moniz conducted scientific trials and reported significant behavioral changes in patients suffering from depression, schizophrenia, panic disorders and mania.
This may have something to do with the fact that the patient was now suffering from a mental illness and brain damage. Despite general recognition of the frequent and serious side effects, the lobotomy expanded and became a mainstream procedure all over the world. In 1949, António Egas Moniz was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine. During the 1940s and 50s, most lobotomy procedures were performed in the United States, where approximately 40,000 people were lobotomized. In Great Britain, 17,000 lobotomies were performed, and in the three Nordic countries of Finland, Norway and Sweden, approximately 9,300 lobotomies were undertaken. Today, the lobotomy is extremely rare and illegal in some areas of the world.