By Erin Curry


Psychosurgery was invented in the late 1930s by a man named Dr. Walter Jackson Freeman. The surgery was performed on the frontal lobe, and the purpose of the surgery was for the treatment of psychiatric disease, and to alleviate mental illness and chronic pain symptoms. The surgery was performed on a number of different patients, and the majority of them turned out successful and the patients went home with a lot less pain then when they did before.

How and who would undergo this surgery?

Before having the surgery done the people wanting to take the surgery had to undergo very rough screening processes to ensure that your body was able to handle the surgery safely, also psychosurgery was only performed on patients who gave the doctors their consent.

The pluses and minuses

Just like any other surgery even after the procedure, there still remains a risk of seizures, fatigue, and personality changes. Although there were some risks many people who were suffering from intractable schizophrenic, depressive or neurotic illnesses appeared to improve greatly, and because there was so few other treatment options many people often decided to have the surgery done.

Case Study

'Case I A 35 year old married woman, who worked as a shop assistant, gave a 3-year history of endogenous depression, characterised by diurnal variation, early morning insomnia, loss of appetite and weight, loss of feeling and libido, ideas of unworthiness, and suicidal feelings. She also developed a fear of leaving home when severely depressed. She had two courses of ECT as an out-patient, but failed to maintain improvement and had to be admitted, when a third course of ECT was given, together with tricyclic antidepressants. After a brief improvement, she was tried on combined tricyclics and MAOIs, but had to be readmitted. She deteriorated, refused further ECT, and was discharged to attend the Day Hospital, where she failed to continue individual psychotherapy, and abreaction did not bring any change." From this case study you can see that the surgery didn't work for everyone, and sometimes had very sad results. From, Downloaded. A Cohort Study of Psychosurgery Cases from a Defined (n.d.): n. pag. Web.

Work Cited

"PSYCHOSURGERY - Neurosurgical Service - Massachusetts General Hospital." PSYCHOSURGERY - Neurosurgical Service - Massachusetts General Hospital. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Oct. 2015.

"Feminist Anthropology: Past, Present, and Future." Choice Reviews Online 44.06 (2007): n. pag. Web.

"Psychosurgery." N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Oct. 2015.

"Neurosurgery at Nimhans." : The Ice Pick Leucotome. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Oct. 2015.

"LALIZAS IMO SIGNS - Risk Of Electric Shock." LALIZAS IMO SIGNS - Risk Of Electric Shock. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Oct. 2015.

Hussain, E. S., H. Freeman, and R. A. Jones. "A Cohort Study of Psychosurgery Cases from a Defined Population." Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry. U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d. Web. 08 Oct. 2015.