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10 Bizarre Therapies in Mental Illness Treatment History

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2. Tooth Extractions

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At the turn of the 20th century, the advancements in medicine generated an enthusiasm that may have led medical professionals to get a bit ahead of themselves. A New Jersey psychiatrist named Henry Cotton developed the idea that mental illnesses of all kinds were the result of untreated infections in other parts of the body. He introduced the practice of “surgical bacteriology” where he proceeded to remove body parts such as teeth, spleens, tonsils, ovaries and other organs believed to harbor infection. Due to the absence of antibiotics, many patients died ironically from post-operative infection. Cotton reported high success rates but it is believed that his results were skewed. In spite of the high fatality outcomes of his operations, he was still largely admired by the public and lauded for his work.

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