Elizabethan lovesickness treated with sex

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Dozens of previously unseen doctors' reports, diaries and prescriptions show that people visited hospitals with symptoms including depression, inflamed bodies, excessive erotic desire, irrational thoughts and a loss of self control.

The term love sickness would now be considered to be unrequited or forbidden love or the distress of being broken-hearted.

Doctors prescribed remedies including potions, diets, mental exercises and listening to music.

In drastic cases, surgery known as bloodletting was performed to release blood and semen from the body.

However, doctors believed that the most successful remedy was simply to have sex.

Dr Lesel Dawson of the University of Bristol, who carried out the research, said that feelings of love sickness were particularly prevalent when people weren't allowed to express love which caused anger and frustration and then turned into a mental illness.

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