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Psycology » Psychiatry and psychotherapy » Neurosis: Part I » Neurasthenia and psihasteniya

Although in most countries the term neurasthenia is out of use, it has an important role in the history of psychiatry, and therefore it would be appropriate to give here a brief summary of it. First, the term applied in 1869 in America Byrd (Beard) to describe a syndrome characterized by mental and physical fatigue, poor appetite, irritability, insomnia, decreased ability to concentrate, headache in the absence of a specific disease. Beard admitted that these symptoms may be caused by chronic illness, debilitating fever, as well as after birth. The term began to be used in a broad sense, and neurasthenia was described in detail in many textbooks XIX beginning of XX century. Ross included the term in the first edition of his famous book, Common neuroses, published in 1923, but by the time it was prepared the second edition, released in 1937, Ross has refused to give the term on the grounds that in most cases the diagnosis of neurasthenia not confirmed: many patients were identified anxiety.

Initially it was thought that the cause of neurasthenia is nervous exhaustion due to overwork, and treatment consisted of alternating rest and planned activity, usually in combination with tonics and sometimes elektrosgimulyatsiey applied to the feet and head. Later overwork ceased to take into account as an important cause, and instead began to attach special importance to constitutional factors and psychological precipitant (developing) factors.

Modern research in general practice (see: Goldberg, Huxley 1980) showed that complaints of fatigue and irritability are usually accompanied by complaints of anxiety, and mild depression. Although it became unfashionable to call such a set of symptoms of neurasthenia, these recent observations indicate that the clinical phenomena described Byrd can still be found today.
Janet used to refer to anxiety and obsessive disorders psihasteniya relative term. It was used to emphasize that the reason should be considered to be more psychological than physiological (see: Janet 1909).


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