Approaches to mental health
Before modern psychology, the way to prove that someone was insane was less based on symptoms and more on testimony. During the sixteenth century, insanity was believed to have been a case of influence by the devil. Religious leaders instead of psychologists diagnosed patients with insanity based on their actions and their sins. Often, indeed, insanity was a guilty plea because being influenced by the devil means that one is a sinner, identifying them as guilty. Scientists and analysts have since realized that it is unfair to condemn insane people to this subjective judgment. It is thus irrelevant to look at the time period’s definition of insanity in order to give it context.