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Article
September 26, 1959

MENTAL ILLNESS, REVERSIBLE AND IRREVERSIBLE

JAMA. 1959;171(4):377-380. doi:10.1001/jama.1959.03010220001001
Abstract

Emotionally disturbed patients commonly progress along a path that begins with nebulous complaints in doctors' offices and continues with accidents, delinquencies, troubles with family and police, unemployment, alcoholism, and either suicide or institutional adjustment. The path can be reversed, but such reversal involves immensely difficult personal and social problems. The logical approach would be to attack emotional disturbance at its point and time of origin. If it cannot be stopped there, systematic efforts must be made to reverse the trend at whatever stage may have been reached. In any case, the progress of the patient toward prolonged or permanent institutional life should be halted if possible, and he should work toward the reestablishment of a healthy, dynamic relation to the community.

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