The dungeon is dimly lit, though noticeably warmer than it has been in the past. Candles float around the room, though it appears to be most of the light coming from the room. The front is a little more lit, a desk with a chalkboard behind it resides there. A woman with copper hair walks into the Potions classroom in a hurry, a grin on her face. “Hello, hello! Welcome to Year Five, it’s great to see you all here. For those of you that don’t know me, my name is Professor Allison Baine. Come in, come on, take your seats.” she sat down on the desk, looking out at the students. “This year, we’re going to be delving into one of my favourite subjects. You’ll all get your syllabus for the year in just a moment, but we’re going to talking about psychology and psychological potions, specifically related to mental illness.” She steps off the desk, walking over to the chalkboard. “Let’s get some beginning of the year items out of the way, and we’ll jump right in.”
The first thing to get out of the way is the syllabus. You should all have a copy of it front of you, so don’t worry about writing it down! I know some of it may seem a little intense, but I promise, I’ll guide you through it all!
Year Five, Psychological Potions
Lesson One - History of Psychological Potions and Neurology
Lesson Two - Happiness and Euphoria
Lesson Three - Depression
Lesson Four - Bipolar Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder
Lesson Five - Truth and Lies
Lesson Six - Trauma and Trauma Induced Dissociative Disorders
Lesson Seven - Luck, Fate, and Destiny
Lesson Eight - Love or Lust
Lesson Nine - Attention Deficit Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder
Now, please keep up with the year on your own. You’re all Fifth Year students now! The information this year is going to be getting more difficult, so you need to work hard to keep up. There will be numerous research assignments throughout the year, as we’re gearing up for the major research project that will happen in Year Seven, for those of you who choose to stick with me through your N.E.W.T.s. I promise none of it will be beyond your scope of capabilities! You’re all very talented students.
I do want to get a few basic rules out of the way. Now I know that Professor Batyaeva went over everything in detail with you in Year One, so it may seem a little silly, but it never hurts to have a little bit of a refresher! Bear with me, I promise we’re getting to the good stuff.
Rule one. There will be no plagiarism of any sort. Any that are found guilty of such will be given a failing grade on the assignment.
Rule two. We will respect everyone in our classroom, regardless of House, background, knowledge...regardless of anything, really. This is a very tolerant classroom, but the one thing I will not stand for is bullying or a lack of respect for one another.
Rule three. Do not eat or drink anything you find in this classroom. This is something I know Professor Batyaeva covered very thoroughly in Year One and I hope you all have progressed enough to understand why this is of importance.
Rule four. You must wear proper attire, or I will eject you from class. Safety is my number one priority when it comes to my classroom.
Please note that all general Hogwarts rules are also upheld in my classroom, and the grading policy has not changed. Now that we have gotten that out of the way, let us move on to the subject of today’s lesson.
Now that we’ve gotten all the housewarming items out of the way, how about we dig right in! I know some of you may be wondering why psychology and mental health is important enough to spend an entire year dedicated to it. Did you know that one in five people suffers from some sort of mental illness? Or that most mental illnesses begin presenting around age 14? That means that in a classroom of thirty students, there are six people in the room that suffer from some sort of mental illness.
These illnesses are severely misunderstood and under researched within the wizarding world. They are still stigmatized in the Muggle world as well, but our kind seems to be even worse about dismissing those with any sort of mental disorder. The main problem is we don’t educate about them! These disorders aren’t taught and thus aren’t understood and it leads to these people being discriminated against. You’ll learn throughout the year, I hope, the importance of helping these people. With the right treatment, even those with the most severe of mental illnesses can be helped and live normal lives. Everyone deserves a chance at a normal life, don’t you think?
You’d be surprised, honestly, at the amount of people around you that suffer from some sort of mental illness, ranging from depression to schizophrenia to dissociative identity disorder. Like I said, 20% of people suffer from something. You might be surprised to know that your professor even has a mental illness! One we’ll be discussing this year, actually. I’ll let you try to figure it out for now, but I’ll let you know at the end of the year. I’m just one example, however, of how, with the right treatments and potions, anyone can lead a normal life and chase their dreams. Don’t disregard someone just because of a mental illness!
Here’s a good song for you to get an idea about what it’s like living with a mental illness.
As I said, this is a topic that hasn’t been studied much within the wizarding community. You’d think with magic we’d be a little more advanced, but sadly not! There have been some real amazing advances in the last fifty years, however, and we’re getting closer to having accessible treatments for almost every mental disorder.
What causes mental disorders, you might be wondering. There is no specific cause for a lot of them, but psychology is closely related to the study of neurology. Can anyone tell me what neurology is? Anyone? Alright, that’s quite all right. Many new students think that neurology is the study of the nerves and brain waves. In reality, neurology is defined as the study of the nervous system. This includes the nerves and brain, but it’s important to note that it does include the nervous system as a whole. Now, some of you may be asking what the nervous system is. This is the nerve cells that transmit information throughout your body. This is what allows you to feel, both physically and emotionally. Happiness, sadness, pain, hot, cold...all of these feelings and sensations are made possible by the nervous system. Did you all know that your emotions can all be broken down to a specific combination of chemicals? More on that later, of course.
Let’s talk about the nervous system itself and then we’ll backtrack back down to neurology as a whole again! The nervous system is made up of two parts: the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system. We’re only going to be discussing the central today. Now the reason most people think of the nervous system as the brain is because the central nervous system is made up of the brain, in addition to the spinal cord. We said earlier that the nervous system is everything that allows you to feel. The brain controls everything in the human body, from your voluntary reactions to involuntary reactions to your emotions. The spinal cord houses all the central nerves that send signals from other parts of your body to the brain. It’s the control bus of information, if you will! If anything happens to damage the spine, it can stop that flow of communication, essentially paralyzing a patient.
Most of our knowledge about neurology stems from the Muggle community. As we’ve already said, the wizarding world is rather behind in the studies of neurology and psychology. So what prompted the study of everything to finally start? That would be due to a man named James Warren! About fifty years ago, he started studying at the Muggle university of John Hopkins to learn more about psychology in order to be able to develop something to help his wife. You see, she had a variety of mental illnesses that stacked and played upon each other. Her quality of life was very low due to the problems she had. He wanted to do what he could to make her life worth living, and to give them a better life together. It was his love for her, genuine love, that prompted him to do this. Now, we’ll be discussing love in Lesson Eight, so I want you to keep in mind what real love is!
He spent four years studying psychology, learning everything he could about disorders so that he could diagnose and learn how to treat his wife. Once he figured out what was ailing her, he was able to study the neurology behind the disorders when it was a chemical problem, the genetic factors, trying to learn everything he could in order to figure out how to construct a potion from scratch.
It was James Warren that created the potion to treat schizophrenia. While we won’t be delving into that potion this year due to its complexity, it was that potion that really kick started everything and got the wizarding community to realize that maybe this was an issue that needed to be taken seriously! People began studying more and trying to come up with ways to cure these ailments so that people could live normal lives again.
The problem, however, lies in the complexity of the human brain. It’s pretty unique when it comes to the way it works and these disorders aren’t ones that can be registered and monitored in other species. Because of this, any testing of these experimental potions was done on humans. In the beginning, this caused a lot of issues. Some of the potions went terribly wrong and caused the patients a lot of pain. Others drove them to complete insanity. There were even some deaths that were caused!
It didn’t take long for the officials to jump in and begin to make more regulations with these potions and how they were tested. While they are still tested on humans today, they make sure that every patient is fully informed of the possibilities of what can go wrong. People can’t just say “We’re not really sure what this is gonna do, but we think it’s going to help.” anymore. They have to warn that it could cause pain, insanity, and even death. The ingredients are also far more closely regulated in order to prevent bad reactions. Just like we know that Wormwood and Lacewing Flies shouldn’t be used together in a potion, as they cause a rather corrosive reaction that is deadly to the human body. These measures have been taken to try to ensure that people are not harmed in the testing of these potions. While bad reactions and recipes do still happen, people are fully aware of the possibility and are consenting to do so.
It is important to know that almost all of these potions are modified in some way to fit the individual patient. What we’re going to be learning this year are the base potions, however it is important that you do not ever administer a psychological potion to someone without first consulting a healer. The healer is able to take in their specific set of symptoms, any co-occurring disorders, along with the patient’s physical characteristics to create a potion specifically for that individual patient.
That’s it for today. For homework, you will find a short quiz. Please complete it and turn it in on my desk prior to leaving. There is also an essay opportunity for those of you who wish to undergo the task. I hope you enjoyed today, and I look forward to seeing you all next lesson!