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A lobotomy is a form of brain surgery that became popular in the early 20th century as a means to treat a variety of mental health ailments. It was developed in Europe in the 1890s as a means to cure schizophrenia. The process involves severing the link between the frontal lobe, which is essential for many brain functions including language and cognitive abilities, and other parts of the brain. Reducing the functionality of the frontal lobe often resulted in apathy, lack of initiative, euphoria, and a drastic change in personality, but the results varied widely.
Because this procedure generally produced calmer patients, its perceived success led to widespread use throughout the US for a myriad of mental health conditions and intellectual disabilities. The majority of patients were women. Criticism began to mount that lobotomies did not actually cure these ailments, but rather made the patients easier to manage. These criticisms, along with the rise of medication use and psychotherapy, caused lobotomies to lose favor by the 1950s.
West, M. (2022, August 16). What is a lobotomy? Uses, history, and more. MedicalNewsToday. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/what-is-a-lobotomy