August 1960

Approches pathogéniques des troubles mentaux.

Author Affiliations

By Paul Cossa. Price, 16 new francs. Pp. 155. Masson & Cie, Paris.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1960;3(2):213-214. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1960.01710020097012

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This little book seems to be an unsuccessful attempt by the author, now chief of the neurological service of the hospitals of Nice, to resolve the bewilderment which he felt when he first encountered mental illness and which continues to haunt him. He begins (I) by recalling the multiplicity of factors operating in the etiology of a mental disorder, and remarks that this is no different from other types of maladies but that there are certain peculiarities in the case of mental disorders: (1) the psychic constitution, inherited or learned, (2) the psychic causes of the acquisition of precipitating factors, (3) the persistence of the mental effects after the disappearance of the physical effects of a cause. In short, what distinguishes mental maladies from the rest of pathology is exactly that they are mental.

The author next recalls the deception of the psychiatrists when, following the demonstration of

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