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January 17, 1948


Author Affiliations


From the Department of Dermatology of the University of Illinois College of Medicine and the Department of Nervous and Mental Diseases of Northwestern University Medical School.

JAMA. 1948;136(3):152-157. doi:10.1001/jama.1948.02890200006002

One may look at psychosomatic medicine from three different views. The first is that in which signs and symptoms in somatic organs are seen to accompany specific mental disease, such as dementia precox. This relationship is well known and accepted. An illustration is the depressed phase of manic depressive psychosis which is frequently accompanied by periodic tachycardia, amenorrhea or loss of weight. The second aspect of psychosomatic medicine suggests that specific somatic diseases are influenced by mental states. Thus, peptic ulcer is aggravated when the patient is distressed or under tension and apt to be improved during periods of physical and emotional relaxation. The third consideration is the one that is least established, but nevertheless the most discussed recently. This maintains that repeated emotional or psychologic stress may actually produce certain somatic diseases, such as asthma, essential hypertension or eczematoid dermatitis.

The present discussion will concern itself with only the

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