CONCOMITANT with the psychological signs and symptoms of schizophrenia are many physiological disturbances. These, among others, include vasomotor changes, excessive salivation, cardiovascular dysfunction, and pupillary abnormalities, which clearly implicate the autonomic nervous system. Much excellent research * has more directly involved both the sympathetic and the parasympathetic components of the autonomic system. Claims are registered that the reactivity of the autonomic system is normal5 as measured by known methods or that it is sluggish.† The decreased reactivity of the schizophrenic to cold is ascribed to the diminished secretion of epinephrine and the deficient or disordered output of adrenocortical factors, which similarly accounts for the diminished elevation of the blood sugar in response to stress.3
There is a tendency to emphasize either the sympathetic nervous system6 or the parasympathetic nervous system.‡ In the acute phases sympathetic predominance does appear to be present.§ Nevertheless, injections of blood from excited schizophrenics
HOFFER A. EFFECT OF ATROPINE ON BLOOD PRESSURE OF PATIENTS WITH MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL DISEASE. AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1954;71(1):80–86. doi:https://doi.org/10.1001/archneurpsyc.1954.02320370082006
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