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October 1945

ACUTE WAR NEUROSISSPECIAL REFERENCE TO PAVLOV'S EXPERIMENTAL OBSERVATIONS AND THE MECHANISM OF ABREACTION

Author Affiliations

LONDON, ENGLAND

From the Sutton Emergency Hospital Neuropsychiatric Unit (Maudsley Hospital, London).

Arch NeurPsych. 1945;54(4):231-240. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1945.02300100003001
Abstract

Since the beginning of the war many psychiatrists and neurologists have referred to the importance of "conditioning," in the Pavlovian sense, in the origin and perpetuation of acute war neurosis. Sargant and Slater1 (1940), reporting on the acute neurotic casualties from Dunkerque, suggested that a process resembling "conditioning" was seen in these patients in a simple form and that the success of physical methods of treatment indicated that physiologic processes played a considerable part in the development of an acute neurosis. Love,2 in 1942, emphasized the usefulness of a Pavlovian approach to the problems of acute war neurosis, as he had experienced them in the campaigns of the Middle East, and especially during the siege of Tobruk. Symonds,3 in a recent paper on the, human response to flying stress, used Pavlov's4 observations to discuss methods of inhibition of fear. Methods of "deconditioning" recently acquired fear responses

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