Menstrual disorders, Sequelae [consequences] of delivery, Head injuries, Progression of age, Ataxic fever, Hemorrhoids surgery, Mania and monomania, Paralysis, Apoplexy, Syphilis, Mercury abuse, Dietary excesses, Wine abuse, Masturbation, Unhappy love, Fears, Political upheavals, Unfulfilled ambitions, Poverty, Domestic problems
Although there are clearly some rather bizarre causes in the list, it’s worth noting that 19th century physicians didn’t always make a clear distinction between different forms of perceived ‘madness’ and had little grasp of what contributed to mental instability.
However, the list was clearly a big advance from the causes put forward by the Ancient Greek writer Solon who said dementia was caused by “physical pain, violence, drugs, old age or the persuasion of a woman”!
Dementia is actually a decline in mental function that happens more quickly than would be expected from normal ageing and is usually accompanied by clearly detectable neurological degeneration – such as in Alzheimer’s disease or vascular dementia.
Link to locked academic article on the history of dementia.