A little over a hundred years ago a man was born in Philadelphia who became preeminent in three fields. In 1881 he was described by Sir James Paget as "one of the most distinguished medical men in your country or in any country." In addition to conducting one of the largest private practices in America, he was the author of a book of poetry, one of children's stories, numerous novels, a treatise on neurologic injuries and 250 articles on pharmacology, physiology, toxicology and psychotherapy. He received honorary degrees from Bologna, Edinburgh, Toronto, Harvard, Princeton and Jefferson. It is significant that a man of such prodigious labors and accomplishments should have made famous a program of treatment by rest!
Weir Mitchell described his "rest cure" in a number of books, the titles of which indicate his philosophy: Wear and Tear, Hints for the Overworked, Fat and Blood. His idea was that
KARL MENNINGER. THE ABUSE OF REST IN PSYCHIATRY. JAMA. 1944;125(16):1087–1092. doi:10.1001/jama.1944.02850340013006