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Lunacy in Norway, 1891

  • William Habgood (a1)

The population of Norway in 1875 consisted of 891,000 males and 930,000 females. (The details of the last census, 1890, showing a population of two millions, have not yet been published). Of these were insane 2,186 males and 2,382 females, giving a ratio of 23 insane (20·4 males, 25·6 females) to every 10,000 of the population. The total number of admissions into asylums for the year 1889 was 756, a ratio of 4·15 per 10,000. These figures compare favourably with those given in the report of the Commissioners in Lunacy for England for the same year, viz, 29·2 insane (27·2 males, 31·2 females) to every 10,000 population, and a ratio of 5·18 per 10,000 on the admissions. Although Norway is a poor country, such extreme poverty and distress as is found in our large cities does not exist there, and this, probably, accounts for the considerably smaller ratio of insane to population. Of the 756 total admissions 32 per cent, were suffering from melancholia, 27 per cent, from mania, 24 per cent, from dementia, and from general paralysis and epilepsy, equally, 1·9 per cent. The marked preponderance of melancholia over mania is interesting, the opposite conditions obtaining in this country, where mania shows an excess of 24 per cent. The distribution of a small population over a large tract of country, the mountainous character of that country, the monotony of life, the lack of amusement, the phlegmatic character of the race, in contrast to the crowded condition of the people, the high tension of living, and the excitement of city life which prevails in this country probably explain the difference. The small number (1·9 per cent, of the admissions,—being 6·4 per cent, less than in England) of those suffering from general paralysis might be explained in the same manner.

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The British Journal of Psychiatry
  • ISSN: -
  • EISSN: 2514-9946
  • URL: /core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry
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Lunacy in Norway, 1891

  • William Habgood (a1)
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