Whatever happened to psychosurgery?

Hastings Cent Rep. 1986 Dec;16(6):24-6.


KIE: In this review of two books on psychosurgery, Bloch highlights Elliot S. Valenstein's treatment of the history of the procedure and John Kleinig's appraisal of the clinical and ethical issues involved. Valenstein, in Great and Desperate Cures: The Rise and Decline of Psychosurgery and Other Radical Treatments for Mental Illness (Basic Books; 1986), traces the rise and fall of psychosurgery from its beginnings in the 1930s to its dramatic decline after the 1954 introduction of effective psychoactive drugs. Evaluating the effectiveness of psychosurgical interventions, Kleinig, in Ethical Issues in Psychosurgery (Allen and Unwin; 1985), argues that some carefully selected patients will benefit from these procedures. Bloch also discusses the British 1983 Mental Health Act with its provisions for informed consent and second opinions, and concludes that it generates as many problems as it solves.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Health Care Rationing
  • History
  • Humans
  • Informed Consent
  • Legislation as Topic
  • Mental Competency
  • Mentally Ill Persons
  • Patient Selection
  • Physicians
  • Psychosurgery*
  • Risk
  • Risk Assessment
  • Third-Party Consent
  • United Kingdom