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.
Female, aged 42; married; no children; height, 5 feet 6 1/2 inches; weight 87 1/2 pounds. Menstruation had ceased ten years ago. Was neurasthenic, psychasthenic, and extremely despondent. Had frequently threatened self-destruction. Her other symptoms were those of anorexia, insomnia, constipation, and general psychic and physical weakness. I made no promise to the husband of this patient, who accompanied her from a distant state, but stated that I would do my best for her.
She returned home after a month, having gained five pounds in weight, had good appetite, and was sleeping fairly well; one month later wrote me that she had gained four more pounds in weight, and was finding a comfort and pleasure in life which she had not experienced in many years.
Female, aged 34; single. This patient had all the classic symptoms of grand mal and had been the patient of several of the most distinguished neurologists that adorn the list of the American profession. The diagnosis given by them was that of grand mal, and by them all the bromids were employed.
The history of the malady dated back twenty-five years. She had all the characteristics of an overindulged child and a very much underdeveloped personality. Was at first almost unmanageable, refusing positively to co-operate in the measures advised. Suggestions given in the hypnotic state were carried out, and in this way she was induced to conform to the dietetic and hygienic measures outlined. At first her seizures occurred as often as every ten days or twice per month, and two or three hard seizures were followed by lighter attacks. After treatment for nine months she had gone three months entirely free from attacks, exhibited a markedly changed personality, was comparatively pleasant and agreeable, and had acquired habits that were little short of the normal individual.
The value of functional exercises, education, purposeful endeavor on the part of the patient, and a sane dietetic and hygienic regimen in this class of patients, to qualify them for using the normal mechanisms of the nervous system as a means of controlling the function of dissociated complexes, causing the convulsive seizures, are beyond question. Hypnotic suggestion, as a means of securing the co-operation of this patient, was of unmistakable value.
Spiller and Oppenheim have called attention to the fact that many cases exist that have heretofore been diagnosticated epilepsy or hysteria which bear not the stigma of either. Just in proportion as rational psychotherapeutic measures are employed in the treatment of this class of cases are we finding out that psychasthenic attacks resembling epilepsy are amenable to treatment, and the number of "epileptics" will decrease just in proportion as correct treatment is employed. The value of psychotherapeutic measures in the treatment of true epilepsy has not as yet been definitely determined. There can be no question of the value of such measures in the development of the normal potentialities or nervous mechanisms of such cases, which have for so long a time been considered hopeless. Time, persistence, and patience are necessary in the treatment of such cases, but the beneficial results to the patient are highly satisfactory.
Male, aged 40; highly neuropathic constitution. After a siege of domestic quarrels, resulting in mental and nervous derangements - insomnia, constipation, and hysterical manifestations - was, by order of his physician, fastened with restraint apparatus and taken to a hospital, where he was kept in a room with iron bars and dosed upon hypnotics for four days, but with practically no improvement in his symptoms, when he was brought to my office for the purpose of examination, with the expressed wish that I treat him, under the care of a nurse, at a local hospital.
After spending an hour with my patient, in which time I had succeeded in gaining his absolute confidence, I informed those in care of him that he needed the assistance of a friend as well as a physician, and assured the patient that I would take his part and give him all the necessary assistance without confinement in a hospital. He agreed to acquiesce in my regimen for the amelioration and cure of his condition, and, after a confidential talk to him alone for twenty minutes, I instructed him to go home and return to my office daily for treatment. After treatment for ten days he returned to his work, and up to six months afterward, when he last reported, had experienced no return of his symptoms.
For six weeks prior to the first treatment by hypnotic suggestion this man had slept not more than two hours per day. From the first treatment by hypnotic suggestion he had plentiful and refreshing sleep, good appetite and digestion, bowel movements were regular every day, and he was agreeable with all with whom he associated. The treatment of this case consisted of the employment of suggestion with and without hypnosis, and instruction in dietetics, hygiene, exercise, gymnastics, and education along the practical problems of life and the art of true living.
Male, aged 42; by occupation a real estate and bond dealer. Had been for two years seeking relief for a severe pain, which annoyed him at frequent intervals, in one side of his head. Besides this annoying symptom, he had for many years suffered from chronic constipation, insomnia, and was, on account of his failure to obtain relief by the various methods of treatment which physicians had employed, very much alarmed over his condition. One physician had had a skiagraph taken in an effort to determine if he had a brain tumor, and this experience had added to his anxiety. He was incapacitated entirely for attending to business, and was altogether quite miserable.
After six weeks' treatment by suggestion, hypnotic suggestion, instruction in diet, exercise, and gymnastics, he was enabled to return to his business entirely free from the symptoms which had annoyed him, and has now, after sixty days, had no return of them.