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September 1935


Author Affiliations

Junior Psychiatrist, Bellevue Hospital; Clinical Director, Bellevue Hospital NEW YORK

From the Psychiatric Division, Bellevue Hospital.

Arch NeurPsych. 1935;34(3):587-604. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1935.02250210108008

In psychopathology every state of forgetting is called amnesia. We are interested here merely in cases of amnesia in which the subjects forget their own identity. To one's own identity belongs the connection with a specific social structure. One has relatives, friends, a place where one works and another where one lives. But the name and address are symbols of one's identity. In every-day life one identifies people by these criteria and they identify themselves in this way. A person's knowledge, insight and faculties are much less important in this respect. We speak about amnesia in this paper only when the consciousness is not deeply clouded, orientation is retained, and the possibility of forming impressions is not completely lost. However, when knowledge and general information have been impaired, in addition to the loss of identity and address, the case is still classified as amnesia.

Although this state is well known,