There is a very general impression among members of the medical profession abroad that it is only by the free use of stupifying drugs that British alienists are able to dispense with the use of mechanical appliances in the management of the insane. It cannot be gainsaid that, by the use of toxic remedies, noisy and violent patients may be as effectually controlled for the time being as by any species of mechanical appliance; nor can it be denied that in many of our asylums narcotics and sedatives are employed in such doses, so continuously, arid for such purposes as to justify the appellation of “chemical restraint.” But there are no facts to bear out the assumption that it is by excessive drugging we are enabled to avoid the use of restraining apparatus in our asylums. On the contrary, there is incontrovertible evidence to show that in foreign asylums where mechanical restraint is extensively practised, chemical restraint is likewise employed to an extent not thought of in this country. Dr. Wilbur∗ has been at pains to collect statistics for purposes of comparing the relative extent to which mechanical and chemical restraint is carried in British and American asylums. The result of his investigation clearly shows that in British asylums and in the few American asylums conducted on non-restraint principles, chemical restraint is not the substitute or alternative for mechanical restraint, but that, on the contrary, the general rule seems to be: the more mechanical restraint, the more chemical restraint.
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