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“On Paroxysmal Anxiety” by Édouard Brissaud (1890)

J Clin Psychiatry 2012;73(5):616
10.4088/JCP.11f07495
  • <p style="padding:5px; background-color:#DDD;">Because this piece does not have an abstract, we have provided for your benefit the first 3 sentences of the full text.</p>

In 1890, the French neurologist Édouard Brissaud reported the symptoms of a 34-year-old male inpatient who suffered what he called “paroxysmal anxiety.” The clinical presentation was similar to what would now be classified as “a panic disorder with prominent respiratory symptoms.” Brissaud suggested that this disorder was caused by an abnormal functioning of the autonomic nervous system. On the basis of this hypothesis, he argued for a clearer distinction between anxiety phenomena. Brissaud’s largely unknown descriptions predated, by many decades, the pharmacologic delineation of anxiety syndromes, and his astute observations on the possible neural origins of some forms of panic disorders preceded hypotheses that are still being considered to this day.

J clin Psychiatry2012; 73(4):616

© 2012 Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc.​​