In the 1950s, treatment of mental illness was at its highest peak, and at its most dangerous point. Because of the new discoveries as to treat the mentally ill in the1950s, dangerous medicines and operations were used on people without much research. In the novel Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, when Holden Caulfield tells his story from inside the mental hospital, there is a good chance treatment he is receiving is affecting the way the theme and tone of his story turn out.
In the 1950s, mental institutions around the country quickly filled as every slight problem with a person was viewed as insanity. The mid-1950s was when patient numbers were in its highest peak. In 1955, and estimated 560,000 people were hospitalized in the United States (A Brillant Madness). This was before drugs and other effective treatment methods were discovered. " ¦the total population in all mental hospitals has decreased 65 percent in the last twenty-two year period between 1955 and 1977 (Berger 75). The drastic change in percentages, 77% in 1955 were in inpatient care, and only 27% in 1977 was due to the advancement in deinstitutionalization. In the 1950s, the number of mental asylums in the United States quickly rose but many had to shut down after prescription drugs were used. "By 1959 only 12% of admissions to mental illness hospitals were compulsory, and the trend was towards shorter periods of in-patient treatment and towards outpatient treatment. Whilst in 1930 there had been practically no outpatients, by 1959 there were 144,000 attendances at outpatient clinics (Mental Health History Timeline). The number of mentally ill patients and the number of asylums are at its highest point in the 1950s, because of the lack of effective treatments to dismiss patients from hospitals, but the number quickly fell soon after.
The lobotomy, where part of the brain is removed or separated to allow the patient to no longer be depressed, was