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April 1944


Author Affiliations


From the Department of Psychiatry, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.

Arch NeurPsych. 1944;51(4):356-377. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1944.02290280054003

Delirium is a term of many meanings. Literally it means "to go out of the furrow in ploughing," i. e., "to go off the track." We shall use it to describe a syndrome sometimes called the symptomatic psychosis, the toxic-infectious exhaustion state or psychosis associated with somatic disease. Essentially it is a more or less reversible psychotic episode appearing symptomatically during the course of an underlying physical disorder. Thus, it may occur in patients with no preexisting structural cerebral disease and may be associated with such conditions as drug intoxications, febrile states and cardiac and renal disease. It may also occur spontaneously or may be precipitated by the aforementioned factors in patients with preexisting structural cerebral disease.

Previous psychologic and clinical studies1 have led us to formulate a principle of release for the explanation of the intellectual, emotional and motor regressive behavior of delirious patients. We have found the

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