Who’s Benjamin Rush?
Benjamin Rush is “The Father of American Psychiatry” (1745-1813) and he was the first American physician to approach the treatment of mental disorders from a scientific viewpoint, but his principal remedies were purgatives, emetics, and bloodletting.
Benjamin Rush graduated from Princeton at the age of fifteen, and received his doctor’s degree from the University of Edinburgh at the age of twenty-two.
He published a psychiatry treatise in 1812 under the title “Medical Inquiries and Observations Upon Diseases of the Mind“.
Rush devised two curious instruments, the “gyrator” based on the principle of centrifugal action to increase cerebral circulation, and the “tranquilizer“. These instruments were “shock measures“, a form of shock therapy. He thought these apparatus were good “to obviate these evils of the strait waistcoat and at the same time to obtain all the benefit of coercion“, as he used to say.
Benjamin Rush was a very learned man and a signer of the Declaration of Independence.
(Edited by Dr. María Moya Guirao, MD)