Grief, or an increased and continued degree of sorrow, is one of the depressing passions. Its influence on the body is remarkable ; and its effects, with few exceptions, are similar to those of fear.
Grief diminishes bodily strength in general, and the action of the heart in particular. The circulation of the fluids is thus impeded; the bile stagnates, and occasions indurations of the liver; or, by mixing with the blood, it produces either jaundice or dropsy. Grief also diminishes perspiration, renders the skin sallow, aggravates the scurvy, but particularly putrid fevers, and disposes persons to become easily infected with them.— Its effects in changing the colour of the hair, are well known ; and instances have occurred, in which the hair has been turned from a deep black to a grey colour, in 24 hours. Blindness, gangrene, and even sudden death, or, as it is emphatically called, a broken heart, have resulted from the excess of this passion. - Persons who indulge in fret ling, become at length in a high degree peevish and irritable : from the constant return of sorrow, the mind beholds new food for it in every object. Thus, the •whole imagination is seriously af-fected, and the most profound melancholy, together with a nervous fever, or, which is still more dreadful, with total insanity, are the inevitable consequences.
Consolatory arguments being the first remedy that can be administered, recourse should be had to whatever is chearful, or calculated to dispel thought, and to divert the mind from brooding over its real or imaginary woes. Gentle opiates, cautiously taken, may occasionally be of great service in this preying disease; but daily exercise in the open air must on no account be neglected; the body should be frequently rubbed with dry cloths, and perfumed with vinegar, amber, or other fragrant matters the tepid bath will also be found of eminent advantage; and, if possible, the patient ought to be removed to a more genial climate. - Mild wines, if drunk with moderation, will be often productive of the happiest effects; but, if they be intempe-rately used, their strong tendency to generate an acid, cannot fail to deprave the appetite, and disorder the stomach.