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The Evolvement of The Sanitorium | Educational | Community | Resources | BoiCGH

Ever wondered the difference between Sanatorium vs Sanitarium?

Both words, Sanitorium and Sanatorium, are interchangeable. You might have heard them referred to as ‘insane or lunatic asylums’.

However, the word Sanatorium originated in North America from the Latin word ‘Sanatorius’ which means ‘health giving’.

Sanitarium derived from the Latin word ‘Sanitas’ which means ‘health’. So the two are extremely similar.

These establishments were the original psychiatric treatment facilities which specified in the institutionalised treatment of mental disorders.

In the early days, these hospitals sadly did not always reflect a good reputation. Many were dark, daunting, vast, cold places which succumbed to overcrowding.  Sadly referred to as ‘the places where the crazies go’, there were tales of neglect, abuse, overcrowding and mismanagement. Many would be restrained via straight jackets and confined to padded cells.

Many who entered these facilities rarely saw the light of day again.

Many suffering chronic illness would be treated with inhuman and painfully intrusive procedures such as frontal lobotomies and other barbaric methods which were often experimental rather than necessary.

The buildings themselves would often be constructed at higher mountainous altitudes as it was widely believed the fresh air would aid those suffering with TB (tuberculosis) as it would kill off bacteria.

During the 1950s, disorders would have included exhaustion, pre menstrual disorders, eating disorders, manic behaviours, erectile and fertility issues and speech impediments.

Thankfully the medical world has evolved much. Todays medical facilities are far more flexible, humane, with great treatment options including patient release schemes utilising highest levels of care.

Present day these centres are very often regular hospitals with designated Mental Health departments with separate centres offering convalescence.

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