Terror, or the apprehension of an evil which we are unable to prevent, is one of the most destructive passions inherent in mankind.
Persons of weak nerves, and those who possess a high degree of sensibility, are most frequently subject to the influence of this tormenting passion : hence they are more severely attacked than the robust or phlegmatic ; and the only certain method of preventing ill consequences is, that of avoiding every occasion that may tend to re-produce such disastrous impressions.
Terror contracts every muscle, and induces violent palpitations of the heart, spasms, and fainting: the usual evacuations become obstructed ; cutaneous eruptions are repelled to the interior organs more essential to life ; the whole system is deranged ; violent convulsions, fits of epilepsy, and sudden death, are its frequent effects, especially during and after debilitating diseases.
As this passion is productive of such dreadful consequences, it will be advisable immediately to adopt the treatment generally followed in spasmodic affections. Thus, vinegar, spirits of hartshorn, lavender, or other stimulants, are to be held to the nostrils : a little warm tea, or wine and water, may be given to the patient; his feet and legs should also be plunged in a tepid bath; and the suppressed evacuations ought to be speedily restored. The most important object, however, is the recovery of mental tranquillity : for, unless the mind be composed, external or physical remedies will seldom prove of effectual service.