Causes of Insanity

You will notice that historical causes of insanity differ drastically from what we know of the etiologies of mental disorders in the 21st century. Though today’s modern world works off the historical aspects of mental illness causes, a century ago or even longer, clinicians were limited in their knowledge about mental disorders. The “causes” listed here are not comprehensive and are primarily based off of admissions records at state hospital in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and throughout the United States. Please remember to keep a historical perspective when viewing this information.

Contributed by Phil T. and Shawn L.


Some newspaper images are from historical archives of The Courier-Journal (Louisville, Kentucky). Some photos are provided from former annual reports of the hospital to the Commonwealth of Kentucky. All other photos were obtained, donated, or copied from state and hospital archives or personal collections. Please contact us before using any photographs or images on this website. We do not own the copyrights to all photos and those photos we do own require written permission before any use.

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