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Early intervention for incipient insanity: early notions from the 19th century English literature.

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Chau, Hang Sze 
Chong, Wai Sun 
Wong, Josephine Grace Wing San 
Hung, Gabriel Bing Kei 
Lui, Simon Sai Yu 


AIM: Early intervention programmes in mental illnesses started to bloom in the 1990s, and many programmes have been established worldwide during the past twenty years. However, the concept of early intervention has emerged during the 19th century but it did not make much impact on practice. The aim of this review is to identify the difficulties appeared during that period of time which could provide insight into the modern development of early intervention initiatives. METHODS: A narrative review which focused on English literature about early intervention for insanity during the 19th century was undertaken. RESULTS: Clinicians during the 19th century recognized that treatment would be the most effective at the early stage of the mental illness and they had emphasized the importance of early intervention. However, because of a number of factors, such as the limited roles of asylums, lack of knowledge about mental disorder and the lack of effective treatment, the idea of early intervention did not make impact in clinical service during that period of time. CONCLUSION: During the past two hundred years, understanding towards mental illness has advanced and more effective treatments, such as the use of anti-psychotic medications, have been developed. Reflecting on the past experience and difficulties might shed light on the development of today early intervention in mental disorder.



concepts, early intervention, history, psychopathology, Early Medical Intervention, History, 19th Century, Humans, Psychiatry in Literature, Psychotic Disorders

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Early Interv Psychiatry

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