Anxiety-Panic History
c. 1800John Ferriar (1761 - 1815), a general physician in Manchester, ... originated the term "hysterical conversion" in referring to the condition in which, when one organ is affected, another and distant organ also acts abnormally, as though out of "sympathy" with the first. Freud was to revive the term a century later in referring to hysterical paralysis engendered by the "conversion" of an unbearable idea into a bodily symptom. (36)
c. 1800Before the end of the eighteenth century, ... psychiatry did not exist as a discipline. ... Yet psychiatric illness is as old as the human condition. ... Just as the major mental illnesses have always been with us, the minor ones such as anxiety, neurotic depression, and obsessive-compulsive behavior have accompanied humankind as well. Since the 18th century, they have often been referred to as "nervous illnesses." (31)
c. 1800The psychiatric distinction between hospitalized and ambulatory patients was scarcely relevant until the end of the 18th century, when people with mild emotional disorders sought help from practitioners who used interventions developed by Mesmer and his followers. Before then, if one were not seriously ill, one made the best of it. If one were ill enough to warrant institutionalization, reliance on hospitals or some other form of sanctuary was necessary. These "sanctuaries" ranged in quality of care from the more humane institutions in Belgium, Switzerland, Scandinavia, Spain (and in places run by the Quakers) to overcrowded, often makeshift places where patients were commonly brutalized, neglected, and kept in chains. (36)
c. 1800laxative "cures" of mental illness would remain a constant theme in psychiatry throughout the 19th and into 20th century. (31)
c. 1800Influenced by Locke and Condillac, Philippe Pinel (1745 - 1826) rejected the old-fashioned humoural theory as well as the purging and bloodletting treatments the theory inspired. ... In Pinel's view mental illness stemmed from heredity or from intolerable "passions," such as fear, anger, hatred, elation, or sadness. ... Pinel strongly advocated - and put into practice - the removal of chains from the hospitalized insane. He was not actually the first to do so, though he is often given credit for this reform. ... In addition, Pinel described hysteria, anorexia, bulimia, hypochondriasis, obsessions, and compulsions. He noted that patients with religious obsessions were extremely difficult to cure. In Pinel's works there are examples of cases similar to the obsessive-compulsive disorders of our own day. (36)
1803Johann Reil (1759 - 1813) was ahead of his time in recognizing the close connection between mental and somatic states and in making uncommonly practical suggestions for the relief of various conditions, including sexual ones. In an important passage in his 1803 book, Rhapsodieen, he stated: "Feelings and representations - in short, whatever arouses the soul - are characteristic means by which the altered temperature and the vitality of the brain must be restored." (p. 50). Though the son of a Lutheran minister and a man of strict habits, Reil recognized that sexual frustration or failure to conceive in a woman who longed to have children could lead to "hysteria." For the former condition, he did not shrink from recommending intercourse as a remedy - an idea already sanctioned by Chiarugi. ... As healing methods Reil advocated good food, adequate sleep, and sunlight, along with measures already mentioned. (36)
1806morphine isolated from opium in 1806. (31)
1807A classic case of acute battle shock leading to temporary paralysis occurred at the battle of Eylau in 1807. A French officer leading his men in an attack against the Russians had a near miss when a Russian cannonball ripped by knocking off his shako [(a military dress hat with a plume)] but without hitting his head. Although the officer was not hit and suffered no head wounds, "I seemed to be blotted out of existence, but I did not fall from my horse. Nevertheless, I could still hear and see, and I preserved all my intellectual faculties, although my limbs were paralyzed to such an extent that I could not move a single finger." While the officer remained paralyzed atop his horse, his unit clashed with the enemy and he was trapped in the middle of the fight. As the only mounted man in an infantry engagement, the experience must have been frightening. The officer was unable to move and lacked even the ability "to press my legs so as to make the animal I rode understand my wish." Eventually, in what must have seemed like hours, the battle moved elsewhere and the officer's horse calmly walked away, taking its paralyzed passenger to safety. The officer "came to his senses" somewhat later and his paralysis abated. (30)
1818A predecessor to the psychoanalytic thinkers (though seldom credited as such) was Johann Christian Heinroth (1773 - 1843), who developed a theory of mind involving a "tripartite" structure identical with that of Freud's a century later. Couched in religious language derived from his Lutheran background, the theory he set forth in his major work Treatise on the Disturbances of Mental Life (1818). ... Heinroth indeed used the term psychosomatic as a way of expressing his objection to Cartesian dualism and conveying his contention that mind and body were two aspects of the same entity and that health was a function of harmony between body and soul. (36)
c. 1830Augustus Bozzi-Granville, a Milanese physician, described numerous nervous illnesses he had witnessed during his tour of the spas of Germany in the 1830s. (31)
1832The first of the manufactured sedatives, chloral hydrate, was synthesized in 1832 by the Giessen chemistry professor Justus von Liebig. Liebig represented the first direct tie-in of psychiatry to industry. The founder of organic chemistry, he taught many of the chemists who ended up working for Bayer after it founded a pharmaceutical division in 1888. (31)
1833[Redirection of blood flow due to stress] was first noted in 1833, in an extended study of a Canadian Native American who had a tube placed in his abdomen after a gunshot wound there. When the man sat quietly, his gut tissues were bright pink, well supplied with blood. Whenever he became anxious or angry, the gut mucosa would blanch, because of decreased blood flow. (41)
c. 1840The psychosomatic perspective formed by Eduard Beneke (1798 - 1854) was that abnormal ideas could become symbolized and transformed into bodily reactions. (36)
c. 1840Studies suggest that the famous biologist Charles Darwin may have suffered panic disorder with agoraphobia following his voyage aboard the Beagle. This greatly interfered with presenting his findings and theories to the English scientific community.
c. 1840For forty years [Charles Darwin] never could work more than three hours a day, and he couldn't stand the least excitement or departure from the day's routine. A trip to London, a few minutes at a public gathering, or even a quiet evening with friends, and he would be knocked out, unable to sleep, and shivering and vomiting for several days. (33)
c. 1843Charles Darwin's visits to [the spa in] Malvern for his chronic hypochondria are well-known. (31)
Anxiety-Panic History