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August 6, 1927


Author Affiliations

From the Division of Medicine, Mayo Clinic.

JAMA. 1927;89(6):440-445. doi:10.1001/jama.1927.02690060020007

Having in mind that ancient recipe for rabbit stew which begins with the injunction, "first catch your rabbit," I begin this paper with the suggestion that you first be sure of your patient's neurosis before you begin to treat him for it; be sure that he is not suffering from something else besides nerves. When one sees how often the skilled gastro-enterologist with every form of technical assistance at his command makes the mistake of treating as a "neurotic" some one who has gallstones, tumor of the cord, incipient tuberculosis, or cancer of the stomach, the need for caution becomes obvious.

If only, then, because we may be mistaken, we should be particularly careful to avoid conveying to our patients the impression that we think there is nothing the matter with them. They may be neurotic, hypersensitive and overcomplaining, but that does not render them immune to organic disease. In