In the customary classification of degrees of mental deficiency the epithet feeble-minded is restricted to those who are the least deficient, those whose mental endowments are more scanty being described as imbeciles and idiots. Some notion of what is meant by such terms respectively may be gathered from a comparison with the mental equipment of a normal child. Thus, a person who corresponds mentally to a child of about two years old is called an idiot, to a child of from three to seven years, an imbecile, and to one of from eight to twelve years, a feeble-minded person or moron.
These different degrees of mental deficiency may be encountered in persons who have started out i life with at least an average mental endowment but in consequence of some disorder or another have suffered deterioration, but the persons who are more particularly included in the above classification are such as have been mentally deficient from birth, though one would probably include also those who, presumably normal at birth, have suffered deterioration in early childhood.
Congenital mental deficiency may depend on a constitutional or inherited weakness of the brain, on disease of the brain occurring before birth, or on a brain injury before or during birth. Addiction to alcohol by one or both parents is cited as one of the possible causes of enfeebling the brain of an unborn child.
In the form of idiocy associated with a defect of the thyroid gland and known as cretinism, the administration of thyroid extract, if begun sufficiently early, will effect a cure, though the drug must be continued throughout life. The only thing to be done for mental deficiency from other causes, however, is to educate the child as skillfully as possible.
It cannot be hoped that even the best methods of education can do much for an idiot or imbecile; the former is incapable of proper speech, and while the latter can be taught to understand and use simple language, he is not capable of much more.
A feeble-minded person, on the other hand, may be trained to do something towards his own support and in the higher grades even to be self-supporting.
No appreciation of moral standards:
Among feeble-minded persons are included those suffering from so-called moral imbecility, for though such might appear to the ordinary observer to suffer from no mental weakness in the ordinary sense, even, in fact, to be especially well endowed, their inability to understand the ordinary moral standards and their lack of susceptibility to moral claims must indicate some serious defect in the texture of their minds.
The proper control of this type of feeble-mindedness is a most difficult problem. Such people are not fit to be at large, however much some of them may appear to be so; they bring trouble on themselves, humiliation on their friends and may be guilty of crimes of violence. As, however, in other respects they appear to be quite normal it is extremely difficult to obtain consent to their confinement in an institution. Their friends cling to the hope of moral improvement, a hope which is rendered vain by the absence of machinery in the minds of the unfortunate individuals for producing any proper change of feeling to make moral improvement possible.
It is also a disconcerting fact that very many people who are feeble-minded, but of a sufficiently high grade to enable them to earn their living, at any rate in a sort of way, are marrying and producing children who inherit the defects of their parents, so increasing the number of those for whose support society must provide, partly or wholly.
Idiocy: The most deficient degree of mental development, idiocy, may be due to injury to the brain or its membranes in very early childhood. Sometimes it follows a succession of fits. In other instances it may exist from birth without any discoverable cause. It occurs with a very small head, say, one that is less than 17 inches in circumference and in some children who suffer from hydrocephalus. Inherited syphilis has appeared to be responsible for other cases.
Idiocy is likely to occur when a child is born blind or deaf, or loses these senses shortly after birth, but such children have been taught and, in fact, brought to a high degree of mental development. In amaurotic familial idiocy, in which blindness and progressive mental and bodily weakness occur, several members of a family may suffer. Mongolian idiocy owes its name to the fact that in those affected the facial expression is of the Mongol type, with slanting eyes and flattened nose. The height is dwarfed, the hands and feet stumpy, and the tongue tends to protrude from the mouth.
In the idiocy of cretinism, a very striking improvement follows the administration of thyroid extract. In other types very little can be done, and the victims die young. See: Mental disease..
Persons who, by reason of mental defect or disorder, are unable to reach what is considered to be a reasonable standard of behavior, or transgress what are considered to be reasonable limits of conduct, are classed as insane. Mental capacity may be below the average, or there may be mental disorder of some kind, but neither is supposed to constitute insanity unless the conduct of the person affords grounds for such an opinion. This is to say that insanity is not synonymous with mental disease (q.v.); the term simply connotes some instances of mental disease.
When a person is insane the question of protection must be considered, protection of the individual himself and of others, and of the amount and kind of protection required. As regards congenital mental defects, reference to these subjects is made under the heading Mental (retarded).
As regards those who become insane, apart from special considerations affecting pauper lunatics, wandering and neglected lunatics and criminal lunatics, there are the alternatives of keeping the patient at home or of his entering an institution for mental diseases, which again may be either a private asylum, or licensed house, a licensed hospital, or a public asylum which takes private patients. Again, an insane person may be capable of making a choice and may elect to go into an institution as a voluntary patient, or it may be considered necessary to certify him as insane and send him in.
It need hardly be pointed out that to deprive an individual of his liberty in this way may be a serious matter for him, nor can the fact be ignored that certification casts a stigma upon him, though this simply shows that the understanding of society is not sufficient, to overcome a prejudice. The question must, therefore, be approached with earnest solicitude; on the other hand, neglect or refusal to recognize urgent grounds for certification may be bitterly rued.
A patient is usually admitted to an institution on a reception order made by a magistrate or other competent judicial authority on a petition signed, if possible, by the nearest relative and supported by two medical certificates. When immediate restraint is deemed necessary, as when the patient is very violent or has manifested strong suicidal tendency, he may be admitted on what is called an urgency order. This must be supported by one medical certificate. See: Mental Disease.
In contrast to the great mass of people who are sufficiently suited for a social existence to be regarded as normal types, here and there one can recognize in individuals the marks, or, as they are called, the stigmata of degeneracy.
In the presence of notable weakness of mind there is, of course, no difficulty, but there are degenerates whose mental powers, on a casual examination, appear to be quite up to the ordinary standard, or in fact they may notably transcend this, especially in the direction of artistic capacity. A more intimate knowledge of such people would bring to light, however, qualities which separated them from the average man: an inordinate egotism, a weakness or even an entire lack of will power, inability to control their instincts and their emotions, eccentricity of conduct, and perhaps sexual perversions. Habitual criminals are often drawn from this class.
Frequently in persons who show the mental and moral stigmata of degeneracy there are physical peculiarities, such, for example, as a misshapen head, misshapen or badly placed ears, a high arched palate, and so on; and, sometimes; a functional defect such as a high degree of impairment of vision or impairment of speech. Not every person who presents one or other of these physical stigmata is a degenerate, of course, but this is likely to be the case if there are several of such marks together; it may also be found that the person is an epileptic. Some of the worst criminals show no physical stigmata of degeneracy.
It is rather difficult to define a delusion because it is almost impossible to make a definition which cannot be applied to certain of the beliefs of apparently sane people. So far as a definition can be made, a delusion is a false belief directly opposed to the evidence and incapable of being affected by any kind of argument or proof. The presence of such a delusion must certainly be regarded as a sign of insanity, but obviously it is very difficult in many cases to say whether the belief in question really answers to the definition given.
The commonest kinds of delusions are those in which the patient wrongly imagines that he suffers from some bodily disease, or that he has lost his memory, or that he cannot walk, or that he is the special object of some imagined wrath, or that he has been poisoned, or has come into a great fortune. In a great many cases there may be only one particular delusion or group of delusions; two of the commonest are the “delusions of grandeur,” as when a patient thinks that he is a millionaire, and “delusions of persecution,” when the patient is in the constant belief that some person or body of persons is threatening: his life or fortune or happiness.
The general name applied to all those forms of insanity of which the chief characteristic is not perversion of the mind or alteration of it in any particular direction, but simply loss of mind. The exact English equivalent for this Latin word is mindlessness, and that is precisely what it means.
A progressive mindlessness, or dementia, is, so to speak, a normal symptom of extreme old age, but often occurs far sooner than it should, and often apparently as simply an effect of decay. In other cases, however, there is some brain disorder to account for it, a hemorrhage, or a tumor, for example: or the brain disorder may follow on abuse of alcohol or other drugs, or occur as part of the general defect in cretinism or myxedema.
Other forms of insanity, whether there is excitement or depression, are apt to end in dementia. People suffering from dementia will require care and control according to the degree of mental enfeeblement. Special causes may benefit from appropriate treatment; much benefit will be produced in cretinism and myxedema by the administration of thyroid extract.
Dementia Praecox is a name which is given to certain cases in which, perhaps after delirium with hallucinations, there is a rapid loss of mental capacity. There is some difference of opinion as to its nature, some authorities ascribing the mental symptoms to degenerative changes in the brain and elsewhere; while others think that the degeneration begins in the thinking processes themselves.
Its onset has reference to the development which takes place during the periods of puberty and adolescence. In adolescent insanity the victim is “stranded on the rocks of puberty.”
This was the tragedy which darkened the soul of the distinguished physician, Bayard Holmes (1852-1924) of Chicago, for his brilliant and beloved son was a victim of dementia praecox: Bayard Holmes spent the rest of his life in studying the malady of his son, but all in vain.
Dementia praecox has always been considered a hopeless disease, but the Vienna psychiatrist, Manfred Sakel, reported to the New York Academy of Medicine, and to the American Psychiatric Association, his remarkable success in curing dementia praecox by a series of insulin shocks. His experiments are too recent for a final judgment at this writing (July 1931), but insulin enters another field of activity – the field of insanity – and hope is bom anew in the darkness of dementia praecox.
Application and treatment:
If sessions are conducted in conjunction with various dietary supplements which are designed to increase intelligence, a noticeable change in mental abilities will be apparent. In most cases however, the effects do not seem to last, but require a concerted management of such things as diet, sleep, general health, and moderate physical training.
The areas of interest generally will be the subjects in which a person’s intellectual quotient is measurably highest. The way that the capacity of the mind is influenced by the amount of knowledge seems to have some major role in the amount of activity and thus, the amount of, or potency of useable intelligence. This useable quantity is also linked closely into the percentage of knowledge that the person has learned to apply in a practical manner to his own life, and the more direct is this relationship of knowledge to life’s goals and tasks, the more efficiently does that person’s mind seem to work. This has also been called desire.
As the brain ages, there is a reduction in the number of cells, but the remaining cells appear to do the same work, storing the same amount if information amongst fewer and fewer cells. This means that an older person’s mind works more efficiently than does that of a teenager.
There is also a question of exactly what intelligence is, beyond the simple definition of their learning and reasoning skills of which only a small portion is reliably quantified in a laboratory.
As regards frequency therapy, there are several possible ways to influence useable intelligence. The first of which is mentioned above. The second is the amount of pollution and toxic chemicals which are removed from the system; this has in many cases made a marked increase in the clarity of thinking in general, but has no direct effect upon the person’s wisdom or judgement, some of which is genetic memory, the latter being more or less pre-programmed and therefore is in no way influenceable.
The third way is by means of controlling the frequency of the brain waves themselves, which is a primary factor in the way that the two sides of the brain cross reference and integrate knowledge and experience with judgement and creativity.
Intelligence has been qualified traditionally by the observational skills as they are practically applied to the person’s overall productivity in life – or quantity thereof. An example of this are such cases as Leonardo Da Vinci, and Vincent Van Gogh, or Albert Einstein and John Lennon. Much of the quantification of their genius is typically attributed to the estimated volume of work accomplished, and its usefulness. Judging intelligence by means of measuring productivity is obviously a deeply flawed system.
Another way of measuring intelligence might be through qualifying the comprehension in proportion to the amount of work and time required to arrive at similar goals and in which the practicality of the understanding is not overwhelmingly quantified simply by productivity.
In theory, there is some doubt that the means of measurement is capable of estimating intelligences greater than that of those designing the system of measurement, and perhaps it is therefore reasonable to assume that intellect which exceeds the level upon which the test is based would go unnoticed and thus, unappreciated. In the reduction of the brain wave frequency, there is a quantum leap in the efficiency of the brain, as the brain moves from what is called Beta down to Alpha.
The brain operating at Alpha frequencies, being the same mind, with the same knowledge it had available to it in the Beta frequencies, is substantially more insightful and achieves the same productivity in much less time with much less work. In most modem environments, people work live and play in the presence of many electromagnetic frequencies in the “background”, which has a sympathetic influence on the frequency at which the mind operates, and this tends to keep the mind in Beta.
Sessions which expose the brain to lower frequencies will slowly pull the mind into Alpha with some practice, and effective useful intelligence is thereby increased.
Using pads each with a total area of 6 inches, which are designed for prolonged use is recommended. These are placed at the base of the spine, and or the feet, and well secured. Amplitude should be set just below the level where it is perceptible. Frequency is set at 5 hz. Session is conducted during the night’s sleep, and ends upon waking. Extremely vivid dreams are often reported. See: Mongoloidism.. for applications.