Madness, or Mania, one of the most distressing afflictions which humbles human nature. It is usually divided into two kinds, melancholy, and raving; but as they are so nearly allied to, and frequently alternate with each other, we shall treat of both in one connected view.
The distinguishing character of melancholic patients, is a gloomy and dejected countenance, for which no real cause can be assigned. They are seized with fear and trembling, so that it is difficult to raise their animal spirits. The violence of the disease depends on the different subjects that prey upon the mind, which is extremely variable ; inquiring after the most trivial matters : the habit is costive, the face pale, the pulse small ;and weak, while the stomach is distended with flatulency, and the appetite is uncommonly voracious. With respect to those strictly denominated maniacs, their condition may be ascertained by their bold and resolute aspect, while their eyes are suffused with blood; by tremulous motion of the eyelids ; an unaccountable aversion to particular persons or things; acute-ncss in hearing; and by their almost continual wakefulness. Those hapless individvals who have become raving mad, in consequence of fear, generally continue under the influence of that passion.-Such are the more striking symptoms, which vary towards the decline of the disorder ; the victims of which are dull and stupid ; or sorrowful, melancholy, and sensible of their mental derangement.
Causes :—These are various, and often complicated, but may be aptly divided into two classes, namely, mental and corporeal. To the former belong love, fear, terror, pride, hope, joy; too ardent enthusiasm for liberty, or other passion that absorbs every faculty of the mind : too intense or too long continued meditation upon any person or subject; an ill-founded dread of the divine vengeance, occasioned by superstition, or false principles of religion, etc. Among corporeal causes are blows, wounds, ulcers, bruises, or water he head ; Congestions 6f blood in the brain; phrensy, or inflammation of that part, f'rom whatever accident; too sedentary a life ; the taking of poisons possessed of nar-: powers; suppression of the proper or natural evacuations, of cutaneous or other disorders ; sensual excesses ; schirrous or glandular obstructions of the mesentery, etc.—Madness is in certain families hereditary; and a slight degree of it is sometimes perceptible after the small-pox, intermittent, nervous, or other fevers.
Peculiarities :-Uncommon strength of limbs ; almost total insensibility not only to cold, but likewise to stripes, however severe ; and an inability to support the exhalations of aromatic substances. As the disease is periodical, the patient is particularly affected during certain changes of the moon, and in the spring. Farther, maniacs are hot liable to be attacked by any of the prevailing-epidemics ; on the contrary, they are frequently cured of their former complaints, or the progress of such disorders is at least suspended, during the continuance of their insanity.
Cure :-If madness be the consequence of any other malady, its removal should be attempted by "nourishing diet: clear air ; gentle exercise, and the moderate use of wine. But, where this disease is hereditary, or has gradually increased from the patient's Infancy, it becomes incurable: a similar fate generally awaits those persons, whose violent attacks, from whatever cause they may originate, have resisted every effort of art, beyond the space of twelve months. In the earlier .stages of madness, 'blood-letting, either in the arm or jugular vein, according to the strength of the patient, has been found eminently serviceable; if he will be weak, or much exhausted, leeches may with advantage be applied to the temples. Considerable benefit has likewise been derived from emetics, such as ipecacuanha for more weakly constitutions, and antimonial wine, or tartarized antimony, for the more robust. The hot-bath ; partial or total immersion in cold water, unexpectedly; purgatives; diuretics; and vitrlolated tartar, have all been found occasionally useful in the progress of this disorder. Camphor has also been highly recommended ; but it does not appear to be very efficacious. According to Dr. Locker, distilled vinegar has been successfully given to maniacal patients, whom it throws into profuse perspiration ; and he observed, that they more speedily recovered, when the sweating was excessive, and of long continuance.
Formerly, the deplorable victims were chained, and scourged,lest they should injure themselves and others: - more humane treatment now prevails, and we trust that the strait waistcoat will always render such harsh conduct unnecessary, as it answers every purpose of restraining them from mischief. It will, however, bead visable uniformlyt to maintain an ascendancy over the patient, by a commanding deportment; as he will thus be impressed with a due sense of subordination, and submit to whatever regulations may be adopted for his safety, or restoration. Independently of this coercive treatment, attempts have been made to mitigate the violence of the disorder, by the liberal use of narcotics, especially of opium, which others have forbidden, as tending to increase the derangement. Instances, however, have occurred, in which large doses of that drug have effected a cure, when admi-nistered both externally and internally ; either alone, or combined with camphor and nitre.—Professor Hufeland observes, that tickling the nostrils with a feather dipped in laudanum, has afforded great relief during a fit of furious madness—A pillow stuffed with fresh hops has also, in many instances, composed the patient, and induced a salutary sleep.
The diet of persons labouring under this dreadful malady, ought to be uniformly light and thin; their meals should be moderate, and consist for the most part of nutritive vegetable food, especially during a course of physic. Their hours of employment must be regular, and their amusements adapted to their natural disposition: lastly, when the disease appears to be subdued, it will be requisite that the patient drink the chalybeate waters, and resort to the cold bath ; as both remedies are eminently calculated to strengthen his whole frame, and to secure him against a relapse.