The Transformation: Before and After Lobotomy

The lobotomy, a surgical procedure in which connections to and from the prefrontal cortex of the brain are severed, was once considered a common treatment for mental illness in the early to mid-20th century. The procedure was believed to alleviate symptoms of conditions such as schizophrenia, depression, and anxiety, but its effectiveness and ethical implications have sparked controversy in modern times.

Before the lobotomy, individuals with severe mental illness were often subjected to various forms of treatment, including insulin shock therapy and electroconvulsive therapy. These methods were considered harsh and often ineffective, leading to the development of the lobotomy as a more targeted approach to addressing specific psychiatric symptoms.

After the lobotomy, patients were often left with a range of side effects, including personality changes, loss of cognitive function, and reduced emotional responsiveness. Despite some cases in which symptoms of mental illness were temporarily alleviated, many patients experienced long-term negative effects that significantly impacted their quality of life.

In recent years, advancements in psychiatric treatment have led to the development of more targeted and effective therapies for mental illness, such as medication management and cognitive behavioral therapy. These approaches have largely replaced the use of lobotomies and other invasive procedures, allowing individuals to receive more personalized and less invasive treatment for their psychiatric symptoms.

While the lobotomy was once seen as a revolutionary solution for treating mental illness, its controversial history and negative long-term effects have prompted a shift towards more evidence-based and ethical approaches to psychiatric care. Today, the legacy of the lobotomy serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers of invasive treatments and the importance of prioritizing patient well-being and autonomy in psychiatric care.

What are the stark contrasts between before and after lobotomy?

Lobotomy, also known as leucotomy, is a surgical procedure that involves severing connections in the brain’s prefrontal cortex to treat various mental illnesses. Before lobotomy, individuals may exhibit symptoms such as severe depression, anxiety, aggression, or hallucinations that significantly impact their quality of life. These individuals may struggle to function in daily activities, maintain relationships, or hold down a job. However, after undergoing lobotomy, the symptoms of mental illness may improve or even subside altogether.

The procedure has been controversial due to its drastic nature and potential side effects, including changes in personality, reduced cognitive function, and emotional blunting. Some individuals have reported feeling like a different person after lobotomy, with a loss of their former sense of self and emotional depth. On the other hand, some patients have experienced relief from their symptoms and a newfound ability to live a more normal and functional life.

Before lobotomy, individuals may face a desperate situation where their mental illness is debilitating and unresponsive to other forms of treatment. Lobotomy may be considered as a last resort when all other options have been exhausted, and the individual’s quality of life is severely compromised. However, it is essential to weigh the potential benefits and risks of lobotomy carefully before proceeding with the procedure.

In the next part of this discussion, we will explore the history of lobotomy, its efficacy in treating mental illness, and the ethical considerations surrounding the procedure. By understanding the contrasts between before and after lobotomy, we can gain insight into the complex and often controversial world of psychiatric surgery.

The Transformation: Before and After Lobotomy

Lobotomy, also known as leucotomy, is a surgical procedure that involves cutting or scraping away the connections to and from the prefrontal cortex of the brain. This procedure was once widely used as a treatment for various mental illnesses, despite its controversial nature.

Before Lobotomy

  • Patients before lobotomy often suffered from severe mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, depression, or bipolar disorder.
  • They may have experienced symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions, extreme mood swings, and violent behaviors.
  • Treatment options before lobotomy were limited, with medications often providing minimal relief.
  • Patients and their families may have felt desperate for a solution to alleviate their suffering.

After Lobotomy

  • Upon undergoing lobotomy, patients often experienced a significant change in their behavior and emotions.
  • Many patients became more docile, calm, and less prone to extreme emotional outbursts.
  • However, the procedure also resulted in severe side effects, such as personality changes, reduced cognitive function, and loss of emotional depth.
  • Overall, the long-term effects of lobotomy were often detrimental to the patient’s overall well-being and quality of life.


FAQs about lobotomy

What is a lobotomy?

A lobotomy is a surgical procedure that involves cutting or scraping away connections in the brain’s prefrontal cortex. It was used in the past to treat various mental illnesses, but is now considered an outdated and controversial procedure.

What are some common conditions that lobotomies were used to treat?

  • Schizophrenia
  • Severe depression
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Bipolar disorder

How was a lobotomy performed?

A lobotomy could be performed in several ways, including drilling holes into the skull to access the brain or using a tool to sever connections in the prefrontal cortex through the eye sockets.

What were the potential effects of a lobotomy?

  • Personality changes
  • Loss of inhibitions
  • Impaired cognitive function
  • Mood swings

What were some of the reasons lobotomies fell out of favor?

  • Ineffective for many patients
  • High risk of complications
  • Controversial ethics and lack of informed consent
  • Advances in psychiatric medications and therapy


Before undergoing a lobotomy, patients often struggled with severe mental illness, displaying symptoms such as delusions, hallucinations, and violent behavior. These symptoms greatly impacted their quality of life and ability to function in society. Lobotomy was seen as a last resort treatment for these individuals, with the hope of reducing their symptoms and improving their overall well-being. However, the procedure often resulted in significant cognitive impairments, personality changes, and a loss of some critical thinking skills. Patients who underwent lobotomy were left with lasting effects that could impact their daily functioning and relationships.

After lobotomy, patients experienced a reduction in their original symptoms, but at the cost of their cognitive abilities and personality. Many struggled to adapt to their new reality, as they faced challenges in tasks that once came easily to them. The procedure impacted not only the individuals themselves but also their loved ones and caregivers, who had to adjust to the changes in their behavior and capabilities. Lobotomy left a lasting impact on those who underwent the procedure, highlighting the ethical and moral implications of using such drastic measures for treating mental illness.

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