Online Encyclopedia

HEBEPHRENIA

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V14, Page 607 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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HEBEPHRENIA.—ThiS is a disease of adolescence (Gr. en) which was first described by Hecker and Kahlbaum and more recently by Kraepelin and other foreign workers. Hebephrenia is not yet recognized by British alienists. The descriptions of the disease are indefinite and confusing, but there are some grounds for the belief that such an entity does exist, although it is probably more correct to say that as yet the symptoms are very imperfectly understood Hebephrenia is always a disease of adolescence and never occurs during adult life. It attacks women more frequently than men, and according to Kahlbaum hereditary predisposition to insanity is present in over 50% of the cases attacked. The onset of the disease is invariably associated with two symptoms. On the physical side an arrested or delayed development and on the mental a gradual failure of the power of attention and Hebephrenia. concentrated thought. The onset of the condition is always gradual and the symptoms which first attract attention are mental. The patient becomes restless, is unable to settle to work, becomes solitary and peculiar in habits and sometimes dissolute and mischievous. As the disease advances the patient becomes more and more enfeebled, laughs and mutters to himself and wanders aimlessly and without object. There is no natural curiosity, no interest in life and no desire for occupation. Later, delusions may appear and also hallucinations of hearing, and under their influence the patient may be impulsive and violent. Physically the subjects are always badly developed. The temperature is at times slightly elevated and at intervals the white blood corpuscles are markedly increased. The menstrual function in women is suppressed and both male and female cases are addicted to masturbation. According to Kraepelin 5% of the cases recover, 15% are so far relieved as to be able to live at home, but are mentally enfeebled, the remaining 8o% become hopelessly demented. The patients who recover frequently show at the onset of their disease acute symptoms, such as mild excitement, slightly febrile temperature and quick pulse-rate. When recovery does take place there is marked improvement in development. The subjects of hebephrenia are peculiarly liable to tubercular infection and many die of phthisis. There is no special treatment for hebephrenia beyond attention to the general health.
End of Article: HEBEPHRENIA
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REGINALD HEBER (1783-1826)

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