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Article
October 18, 1941

"THERE IS NOTHING PHYSICALLY THE MATTER"

JAMA. 1941;117(16):1377. doi:10.1001/jama.1941.02820420069028

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Abstract

To the Editor:—  The examination has been thorough and included many laboratory tests in addition to the usual clinical procedures. The physician then gives the patient the diagnosis and prescription for which he has been consulted. "There is nothing physically the matter with you—nothing that a good vacation could not cure. Stop worrying, snap out of it, pull yourself together!"The immediate effect is deceiving; the patient may feel relieved that he has not an obscure and devastating disease, but the reaction is prompt and often overwhelming. "If the doctor had found something the matter I could be treated by drugs or surgery—what hope have I now?" the patient asks of himself. The suffering patient alone realizes the extent of his misery, which has not been dissipated by the physician's kind attitude, cheerful words or reassurances. Admonitions to forget are hollowly received, for the patient knows he does not want

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