This section is from the book "Handbook Of Suggestive Therapeutics, Applied Hypnotism, Psychic Science", by Henry S. Munro. Also available from Amazon: Handbook of Suggestive Therapeutics, Applied Hypnotism, Psychic Science.
A delicate, high-strung, nervous young woman, with ambition while in college three times in excess of her physical strength. A decidedly neurotic tendency, always oversensitive and morbidly conscientious. This condition had been encouraged by overstrain in education and by one incident after another, which proved to be a shock too great for a nervous system so unstable; yet not more than a normal individual could easily withstand. Finally came an attack of typhoid fever, and when the patient was seen several months later she had for five months been confined to her room with hands and arms fastened, with delusions of persecution, and impersonating one character after another sent down to earth by Prometheus, etc.
She drank but little water, and took only a small quantity of milk for nourishment; her bowels moved only under influence of purgatives; there was constant enuresis, sleep was secured only by hypnotics, bromids, etc. She had a furred tongue, fetid breath, rapid pulse, was extremely nervous, with an excitable, overactive brain, and finally would become exhausted and lie with head hot and bathed all over in perspiration. At my. first visit I released her arms, and acted as if I had perfect confidence in her; had her exercise every muscle, breathe deeply, drink one glass of water, and after an hour another glass. I then put her into a light state of hypnosis, and gave suggestions to quiet nervousness, to relieve an overexcitable brain, secure sleep, cure enuresis, correct delusions, create appetite and thirst, to regulate bowels, etc.
Besides releasing her from the fastenings on her arms, all medicine was withdrawn at once, save 1/8-grain dose of protoiodid of mercury, which was ordered to be given at bed time for its general tonic effect. From the first treatment by hypnotic suggestion she became quiet, slept well at night, ate three wholesome meals a day, had but few delusions, enuresis was stopped, pulse quiet and normal, talk rational, and the whole picture of the case was changed.
After one week she was eating, sleeping, drinking water freely. exercising and resting alternately, practicing deep breathing, and presented every indication of great improvement, while previously she had been gradually growing worse for several months and probably several years. After two weeks' treatment she made up her own bed, swept her own room, took walks in the park, and assisted in the housework, busying herself with fancy work, etc.
The outcome of this case is for only time to decide. The permanency of the results obtained by suggestive therapeutics depends altogether upon the stability of the nervous system. A favorable outcome in a case like this will depend upon our ability to bring about those conditions necessary to physical development - sleep, food, drink, exercise, mental quietude - as well as directing her habits of thought and action into healthful, normal channels. Yet, the results so far show the possibilities for help even in this unfortunate class of cases.
Sanity or insanity is not to be ascertained by any definite standard. They are terms that can not be defined, for one merely denotes the absence of the other. They are both only relative terms. It is absolutely impossible to find a person of so healthy a mind and body that some form of degeneracy can not be observed. As a well-known psychologist remarked, "No one can be accused of being hopelessly sane." Yet, if an individual is unable to look after his affairs and is dangerous to himself and others, and interferes with society, he may undoubtedly be said to be of unsound mind. At any rate, insanity is not revealed by any one symptom. The change is displayed by everything, both physical and mental. The degeneration affects the body as a whole.
Not every person who is sick, then, should be counted as insane, for all disease affects both mind and body in a degree. There are many people who are insane, however, who, had timely treatment been instituted, could have been completely restored to a normal condition of health in both mind and body. "Treatment." in the sense used in the above remark, involves education, environment, dietetics, exercise, and employment, and all that contributes to the evolution of the individual.
Suggestions, both with and without hypnotism, in the hands of a thoughtful physician can do much toward bringing about those conditions under which recovery may be rendered possible. 1