Patienter, diagnoser och terapier i sjundedagsadventistisk vård 1935–1985

  • Motzi Eklöf


The international non-conformist denomination, Seventh-day Adventists (SDA), have since their foundation in North America in 1863, had a distinctive health care model for their members. They have also pursued an extensive international health care system, in line with their Christian mission. In Sweden, SDA were in charge of Hultafors Sanatorium between 1926 and 2002. According to a sample of 164 patient records from 1939–1985, a relatively large amount of the patients throughout the whole period were diagnosed with neurosis of some kind or other mental disorders, often in combination with (other) physical ailments. In many cases, a combination of physical, psychological and social problems, difficult to handle, are displayed in the patient records. The special treatment offered at Hultafors mainly consisted of diet, hydrotherapy and other physical therapies, combined with a psychotherapeutic approach, positive thinking and an offered Christian pastoral cure for those interested. Some patients were also treated with insulin injections, and from the 1940s onward, more psychopharmacological drugs and in some cases electroshock. Women, especially, were given psychopharmacological drugs without having a diagnosis categorized as a mental disorder. The article discusses how and why these different explicit psychiatric treatment technologies were used in combination in this specific medico-religious context. Among the proposed contributing factors discussed are the Adventist non-dualistic and holistic view of mind-body, their ambition to offer the best and newest treatments possible outside psychiatric institutions and their strong links to American medicine. The development of Swedish public health care and health insurance from the 1950s also influenced patient categories at Hultafors.