The intensive work done during the last twenty years on the functional nervous disorders of the adult has brought about a marked change of attitude in dealing with them. We are less inclined to attribute these disorders to hypothetical intoxications, nor are we satisfied with a mere reference to the basis of constitutional psychopathic inferiority on which they arise; the aim is now to find the meaning of each disorder, the rôle that it plays in the adaptation of the individual to the environment. We look on fever not as a disease, but as part of a mechanism of adaptation; so in a functional nervous disorder, whether it be a paralysis or blindness, morbid fears or obsessive thoughts or compulsive acts, we see adaptation to the complex environment, an adaptation which is inferior and unhygienic, but intelligible and often open to modification.
In studying these disorders, whether they belong to
CAMPBELL CM. THE NEUROTIC CHILD: SOME FAMILIAR SYMPTOMS AND THEIR PROBLEMS. Am J Dis Child. 1916;XII(5):425–444. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1916.04110170003001
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