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July 1962

Autonomic Dysfunction in Psychoses: Adults and Autistic Children

Author Affiliations

Eastern Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute and Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1962;7(1):1-14. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1962.01720010003001

Recently, Rubin13,14 reported that the so-called functionally psychotic adult is incapable of manifesting an organized response to stress because of a fundamental impairment of function of either the adrenergic or cholinergic mechanism or both. The major hypotheses confirmed in the experiments were: (1) effective adjustments to emergency situations require maximal generalized sympathetic response; (2) to attain a maximal level of sympathetic activity in the intact organism, it is not only necessary that increased levels of adrenergic activity follow the emergency but that the level of cholinergic activity decrease; (3) the disordered responses to stress that characterize the functional psychoses represent significant departures from the adrenergic increase and cholinergic decrease that characterizes the effective, adjusting individual during stress; (4) the varieties of disordered response to stress represent discrete levels of activity of interacting adrenergic and cholinergic mechanism. That is, the disorder may represent

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