Patient case notes for Victorian lunatic asylums generally contain an initial summary of information about the patient. In many, a ‘supposed cause’ is listed, some of which seem quite peculiar by modern psychiatric standards. The following are all causes to which a patient’s mental illness was attributed at the Melbourne asylum Yarra Bend during the 1880s.

  • Attending Salvation Army
  • Bad Temper
  • Brooding over Pecuniary Losses
  • Cold
  • Conduct of Husband
  • Desertion of a Man She Was Living With
  • Disappointment in Love
  • Excitement
  • Family Trouble
  • Fright from Fire
  • Fright of Mother While Pregnant
  • Habitual Drunkenness & Other Abuses
  • Having Two Illegitimate Children
  • Hysteria
  • Ill-Treatment by Husband Who Is at Present in Gaol for Bigamy
  • Jealousy
  • Love
  • Lunacy in Her Family
  • Marrying a Man Who Had a Living Wife
  • Mother’s Mind Affected When Pregnant with Patient
  • Neglect
  • Over Study
  • Overwork as School Teacher
  • Overwork in Her Husband’s Parish
  • People Using the Expression “You Are Mad”
  • Perhaps Drink
  • Religion
  • Residing in Too Heated a District
  • Scandalous Report About Her Character
  • Self-Abuse
  • Sexual Excitement
  • Softening of Brain
  • Spiritualism
  • Syphilis
  • Trouble
  • Uterine Troubles
  • Want of Company

The rest of the causes can be found under the cut.

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