A History of Male Psychological Disorders in Britain, by Alison Haggett

By Alison Haggett

This booklet is open entry lower than a CC by way of license and explores the under-researched background of male psychological affliction from the mid-twentieth century. It argues that statistics suggesting ladies were extra susceptible to melancholy and nervousness are deceptive on account that they underplay a bunch of different displays of 'distress' extra universal in men.

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69 The increase in male numbers could be accounted for largely by cases of duodenal ulcer, which were found in the top section of the intestine as opposed to the stomach. Numbers peaked during the 1950s and began to decline by 34 A History of Male Psychological Disorders in Britain the 1960s. 70 Early treatments dispensed by the GP were limited to antacid medication and patients were usually advised to follow a bland diet and take plenty of bed rest. 71 During the 1970s, the Scottish pharmacologist, Sir James Black, introduced cimetidine, a H2 receptor antagonist, which inhibited stomach acid production, allowing ulcers to heal without surgery.

84 This association between the civilising process and disease was not new;85 however, Halliday’s observations on the sex-incidence of disease are particularly revealing in what they say about men and masculinity during the period. He argued that the changes in the milieu of adulthood affected the two sexes differently, and, as a consequence, the incidence of most psychosomatic illness was greater in men. He noted that the process of emancipation had resulted in women gaining access to ‘many new interests and satisfactions’; yet, it was still socially acceptable for them to express emotion 36 A History of Male Psychological Disorders in Britain freely.

Speaking about patients with digestive disorders, his testimony was typical of those interviewed on the subject: I have no doubt that amongst all these people there were a lot who were also worriers . . So, in other words, it was anxiety presenting as gastric symptoms. Similarly, what is now called, well in those days it was called spastic colon, and now irritable bowel, we prescribed 32 A History of Male Psychological Disorders in Britain DSNT [double-strength nerve tonic], a mild sedative, because we thought people might be worrying.

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