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THE CATATHYMIC CRISIS:  A CLINICAL ENTITY

FREDERIC WERTHAM, M.D.
Arch NeurPsych. 1937;37(4):974-978. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1937.02260160274023.
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In the field of the psychiatry of crime the psychiatrist is confronted with a phenomenon for which he is little prepared by general psychopathology. The person to be examined has committed one or several overt acts. Usually the nature of these acts is familiar. One knows a great deal about their content, their meaning and their motivation from experience with patients who express a similar content in their fantasies, dreams and various symptoms. But however much one may know about fantasies that are, for instance, cruel and sadistic, it is a long step from this knowledge to the understanding of such a case as that of a girl, not psychotic or mentally deficient, who because of jealousy deliberately pours lysol on the eyes of a sleeping girl who has been her friend and blinds her. Even if one grants that thought is just another form of activity, the problem remains

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