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August 1968

The "Protest" Psychosis: A Special Type of Reactive Psychosis

Author Affiliations

Brooklyn, NY
From the Department of Psychiatry, State University of New York, Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY (Dr. Bromberg), and the Kings County Hospital, Brooklyn, NY (Dr. Simon).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1968;19(2):155-160. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1968.01740080027005

THE PURPOSE of this paper is to identify a specific type of reactive psychosis related in part to recent social-political events. It is well known that of the external stresses that trigger many psychotic reactions, the content of the clinical picture may be colored by or formed of political events of national or international import. Thus, delusional schizophrenics complained of Bolshevik persecution in the 1920's and interference by space figures in the 1960's. In the reactive psychosis particularly, a close relation exists between external stresses and the explicated clinical syndrome.

It can be stated schematically that a reactive psychosis occurs when an external stress is strong enough to cause a rupture of the ego with resulting break with reality. These pressures, which may be obvious as in a prison situation, or unappreciated in their intensity, as in a mourning or

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