The attempt to obtain recognition for anything approaching a clinical innovation in the realm of nervous or mental diseases is an herculean task. Among the rank and file of the profession such a movement naturally meets with the stolid indifference which is the lot of practically all phases of mental science; while among alienists and neurologists it encounters a curiously combative attitude, which is strikingly exemplified in the struggle experienced by psychasthenia in gaining recognition as a nosologic entity.
There is, however, a growing desire, born of necessity, on the part of neurologists, to limit the semeiologic scope of the old term neurasthenia. It is admittedly too vague, too clumsy—a mere diagnostic peg on which to hang symptomatic chains composed of heterogenous links —and yet substitute terms, psychoneurosis, for example, are equally unhappy, because of their absurd overcomprehensiveness and fatal lack of nosologic focus.
It would seem from the foregoing
COURTNEY JW. PSYCHASTHENIA: ITS SEMEIOLOGY AND NOSOLOGIC STATUS AMONG MENTAL DISORDERS.. JAMA. 1908;L(9):665-673. doi:10.1001/jama.1908.25310350011001c