Reasons for Admission to an Insane Asylum

Reasons for Admission to an Insane Asylum

Asylums were used to house and treat people with a wide range of conditions, from depression to schizophrenia to addiction and dementia. Though admission to asylum was meant to provide treatment, it was often abused as a way to isolate and punish individuals with mental health issues or those who were seen as “deviant” from the social norms of their time, such as women accused of witchcraft, people with disabilities, or the LGBT community.

Some of the other criteria for admission to an asylum included immorality, such as adultery or religious heresy, criminal behavior, poverty, and alcohol and drug abuse In some cases, those who did not meet these criteria were still admitted to asylums out of convenience or ignorance.

A family member may have wanted an elderly relative to be taken care of without being able to provide adequate home care, while someone with a learning disability or behavioral disorder may have been sent away from home due to a lack of understanding of their condition. Regardless of the reason for admission, asylums were often places of immense suffering and despair, with countless reports of neglect and abuse by staff members and patients alike.

Factors Leading to Admission to Insane Asylums

In the past, the criteria for admission to an insane asylum were often vague and subjective, and people were admitted for a wide range of reasons. Some of the most common reasons for admission included symptoms such as depression, anxiety, and hallucinations. Other reasons for admission included behavior that was considered to be socially unacceptable, such as promiscuity or alcoholism. In some cases, people were even admitted for reasons that seem downright bizarre today, such as “masturbation madness” or “religious mania.”

It’s worth noting that these asylums were not only a place for treatment but also a way to get rid of people who were seen as a burden for society, for example, the poor, the disabled, and women who were not conforming to society’s expectations.

In this blog post, we will take a closer look at the reasons for admission to insane asylums in the past, and how these reasons have evolved. Understanding the historical context of mental health treatment can help us appreciate the progress that has been made. In addition, it can help us recognize areas where we still have work to do.

Causes of asylum admission in history;


Hallucinations are perceptions that do not correspond with reality. They can be auditory (hearing), visual (seeing), tactile (feeling), olfactory (smelling), or gustatory (tasting). Hallucinations can also be simple or complex: For example, a person might see one object in their room when there are many objects present; or they might hear a voice when no one else is speaking.

Reasons for Admission to an Insane Asylum
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Hallucinations can be very frightening and disorienting, and it is important to remember that you are not alone if you are experiencing them. It’s not necessarily a sign of mental illness, as it can also be caused by certain medical conditions, drug and alcohol use, or extreme fatigue. However, if hallucinations are frequent or accompanied by other symptoms such as difficulty concentrating, memory problems, depression, anxiety, or suicidal thoughts, it is important to seek medical help right away as these may be signs of an underlying mental health condition.


Insanity is a legal term that refers to a person’s incapacity to make rational decisions. It’s not an official diagnosis, but rather a legal status that can arise from several mental disorders. Insanity is typically used as a defense for the accused in criminal trials, or as an argument for involuntary commitment to hospitals for those who are unable to care for themselves.

Psychosis is one of several types of mental illness characterized by psychosis–a loss of contact with reality where thoughts and emotions are so impaired that their perception of events, situations, and relationships is significantly altered. Psychosis can result from brain damage due to injury or disease (e.g., Alzheimer’s disease), drug abuse (e.g., amphetamines), or alcohol abuse (delirium tremens).

It may also be caused by stressors such as postpartum depression after childbirth; severe trauma such as rape; exposure during childhood such as witnessing domestic violence between parents; genetics if there is a history among family members who suffer from chronic psychotic disorders like schizophrenia spectrum disorders.


Epilepsy is a chronic disorder of the nervous system that causes recurring seizures. It’s a brain disorder caused by brain injury, stroke, tumor, infection, or birth defect.

When people have epilepsy they suffer from recurrent unprovoked seizures (episodes) where abnormal electrical discharges occur in the brain causing sudden changes in behavior and consciousness.

The main types of epilepsy are temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE), frontal lobe epilepsy, and occipital lobe epilepsy which all have different causes but all result in seizures being triggered when certain areas within their brains are stimulated by something such as flashing lights or loud noises


Alcoholism is a disease that causes a person to drink alcohol in excess. Alcoholism can lead to serious health problems, including death. The amount of alcohol needed to cause disease or death varies from person to person.

It is important for you to know that alcoholism can be treated with counseling and medication. In some cases, it may be necessary for you or your loved one who has been diagnosed with this condition, which means they have an uncontrollable craving for alcoholic beverages and continue drinking despite knowing it has harmful effects on their overall health and well-being.

In order to successfully treat alcoholism at home, it is vital that your loved one gets professional help right away–before their addiction gets any worse!

Mental Disorder

A mental disorder is a medical condition that causes significant distress or impairment of personal functioning. Mental disorders are associated with both physical and mental symptoms, ranging from mild to severe. A person with a mental illness may be diagnosed with one or more specific disorders, or they may be diagnosed with no disorder at all (called “not otherwise specified”).

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The most common mental disorders are anxiety disorders, mood disorders (such as depression and bipolar disorder), schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders, and autism spectrum disorder. Mental health is essential to our overall well-being and happiness.

When we are mentally healthy, we can function at our best in all areas of life. Mental health is an important factor in physical health and well-being. When you have a mental disorder, it can be challenging to perform daily tasks and make decisions that affect your life.

Sexual perversion

Sexual perversion is a term used by psychiatrists and other mental health professionals to describe a person’s sexual behavior that deviates from the norms of human sexuality. It can be caused by mental illness, substance abuse, or physical abnormalities.

Sexual perversion is not the same as sexual deviance (defined as any non-normative sexual practice). Sexual perversions are considered to be rare and unusual variations rather than common ones; they may also be called paraphilias or psychosexual disorders.

Old Age

Old age is a common reason for admission to an insane asylum. It’s not a mental illness, but it can lead to mental illness. Older people may have dementia or depression, anxiety disorders like panic attacks or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), bipolar disorder (manic depression), and even schizophrenia.

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The elderly are also more likely to have physical illnesses like heart disease or cancer. These conditions can cause mental symptoms like confusion or forgetfulness.

The elderly have a higher risk of developing mental illness. They’re more likely to have dementia and depression, anxiety disorders like panic attacks or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), bipolar disorder (manic depression), and even schizophrenia. The elderly are also more likely to have physical illnesses like heart disease or cancer. These conditions can cause mental symptoms like confusion or forgetfulness.


Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum. The primary stage of syphilis typically lasts for three months, but it can take up to 12 years for all stages to be completed.

The symptoms of syphilis include:

  • A single, painless sore at or near where you were infected (usually on your penis or vagina). This sore will go away on its own without treatment within 3 weeks. But if you don’t get treated in time, this sore can turn into many sores that spread across your genitals and/or anus (referred to as secondary syphilis). These sores may also appear around your mouth and on other parts of your body where there are breaks in the skin like under arms/legs etc…

Extreme depression

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), depression is a mood disorder that affects how you feel, think and behave. It can be caused by a chemical imbalance in your brain or stressful life events. Depression can also run in families, so if one parent has it, there’s a greater chance that you’ll develop depression too.

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Depression doesn’t just affect how you feel; it can affect your ability to work and sleep well, as well as make simple decisions like what clothes to wear or where to go on vacation with friends. Depression makes people feel sadder than they should be at times when bad things happen–like losing someone close or getting fired from work–and they may have thoughts about suicide (e.g., “I’d rather die than live another day like this”).

Suicidal ideation

Suicidal ideation is a symptom of mental illness. The patient may be depressed, anxious, or psychotic; they may have a history of mental illness in their family; they may have been abused as a child.

They may have experienced a traumatic event in the past, or they may be taking certain medications that can cause suicidal thoughts. The more risk factors that are present, the more likely it is that someone will think about killing themselves.

Substance abuse

Substance abuse is a common cause of mental illness. The effects of substance abuse on the brain can lead to mental illness, or be a symptom of it. If you suspect your loved one must seek help, they must seek professional help immediately. Addiction treatment programs are available at many facilities across the country.

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The sooner you can get your loved one into treatment, the better. If they refuse to seek help on their own, consider seeking professional intervention services. These programs can help you get your loved one into treatment and keep them there until they’re ready to leave.


Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that affects how a person thinks, feels, and behaves. It is characterized by an altered sense of reality, often including hallucinations and delusions. People with schizophrenia may also have disorganized thinking and speech, as well as social withdrawal.

The exact cause of schizophrenia is unknown but it is thought to be caused by a combination of genetic factors, environmental stressors (such as trauma or abuse), and neurobiological changes in the brain. The condition usually starts in early adulthood; men tend to develop symptoms at an earlier age than women do.

Unusual behavior

If you are concerned about someone’s behavior, it is important to get help. The person may not be aware that their behavior is unusual or they may be reluctant to seek help on their own.

If you notice any of the following behaviors in yourself or others, please contact your doctor immediately:

  • Talking to yourself in public places (e.g., on a bus)
  • Repeating the same phrase over and over again (e.g., “I’m worthless”)
  • Unusual eating patterns such as refusing food altogether or eating only very specific foods

Criminal behavior or a history of harm to self or others

In the past, people with criminal behavior or a history of harm to themselves or others were often admitted to insane asylums as a way to deal with their issues. This was due to the belief that mental illness was the root cause of criminal behavior and that institutionalization was the best way to address it.

However, this approach had several flaws. For one, it conflated mental illness with criminal behavior, suggesting that all criminals were “insane” and needed to be institutionalized. This led to a lot of people who had committed crimes being falsely diagnosed with mental illness and sent to asylums, even though they did not have any mental health issues. Additionally, many people with mental illness who had not committed crimes were also sent to asylums, further perpetuating the idea that mental illness was synonymous with criminal behavior.

Another issue was that insane asylums were not equipped to provide the kind of treatment that people with criminal behavior or a history of harm to themselves or others needed. They were primarily focused on custodial care rather than rehabilitation, and the conditions in these institutions were often overcrowded, unsanitary, and inhumane.

Today, the approach to dealing with individuals with criminal behavior or a history of harm to self or others is much different. Instead of institutionalizing them, the focus is on providing them with appropriate treatment and rehabilitation. This can include therapy, counseling, and medication, as well as specialized programs such as anger management or substance abuse treatment.

It’s worth noting that the treatment of criminal behavior and mental illness is a complex issue. A lot of work still needs to be done to ensure that individuals receive the appropriate treatment and support they need.

A history of mental illness in the family

In some cases, a family history of mental illness can be a factor in a person’s admission to an asylum. If you have a close relative who has been diagnosed with a mental disorder, this could be an indication that you are at risk of developing one as well. In addition to having one or more relatives with a psychotic condition–such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder–a genetic predisposition to these illnesses may also exist in your family tree.


In conclusion, the reasons for admission to insane asylums in the past were varied and often arbitrary. They included symptoms such as depression, anxiety, and hallucinations, as well as behavior that was considered to be socially unacceptable. However, this approach was flawed and misguided, as it conflated mental illness with criminal behavior and often led to further harm.

Today, the focus is on providing appropriate treatment and rehabilitation for individuals with mental health issues, rather than institutionalizing them. It’s important to remember that the treatment of mental health is a complex and ongoing issue. This requires a nuanced approach and a commitment to providing the appropriate support and resources for those in need.

Jenny Fischer

Jenny Fischer

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