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The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: December 1896


The paper dealt with disorders, resulting from intestinal indigestion, and likely to be confounded with neurasthenia or mild melancholia. Three cases were reported. The first, for comparison, was of a young man who was first seen at the end of the first week of typhoid fever. He was slightly delirious, and for a week very sleepless. This condition became intensified into one of coma. Marked improvement followed the administration of calomel in laxative doses at the height of the disorder during the the third week.

The second case was of a man 55 years of age, who, after an attack of dysentery, from which he had re covered, developed marked depression of spirits, tremor, nervousness and sleeplessness. There were moderate pains and rumbling in the intestines, but no symptoms of stomach dyspepsia. Milk diet, intestinal antiseptics and mild laxatives were followed by steady general improvement.

The third case was of a woman who after a mental shock slowly drifted into a condition simulating mild melancholia. She cried very easily, was much afraid that she would lose her reason and be sent to the asylum, and was sleepless. The patient was very fleshy and slightly anæmic. She was put on a milk diet, and given strontium salicylate and later benzosol. Her condition improved markedly, but she remained until last seen, some months after the beginning of treatment, dependent on the maintenance of a rather strict diet. The cases were too few to warrant generalization. The writer expresses his belief that great care is necessary in distinguishing these cases from those of original neurasthenia and from cases of reflex nerve disturbances.

© Williams & Wilkins 1896. All Rights Reserved.