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January 16, 1960


Author Affiliations


From the Comprehensive Medicine Clinic of Temple University School of Medicine.

JAMA. 1960;172(3):226-228. doi:10.1001/jama.1960.03020030020005

It is possible for even the busy family physician to gauge in a practical way the degree of a patient's neurosis. To estimate the patient's anxiety it is necessary to find out what the disease means to him; he may think of heart disease, for example, as synonymous with years of complete invalidism. To determine the relation of symptoms to the neurosis it is necessary to find out how the general course of his life has been altered by the symptoms; he may accept them with complacent inertia or react with constructive adjustments. A third factor to note is whether the patient gives his physician that minimum of cooperation needed to help him. Case histories illustrate these three points. Attention to them sometimes obviates the need for more time-consuming psychiatric interviews and helps the physician to evaluate, to treat superficially, or to decide whether further psychiatric help is needed.