7 Pages

An Attempt of a Physiologist to Digress into the Domain of Psychiatry43

WithIvan P. Pavlov

In this chapter, Pavlov thoroughly analyses a group of symptoms observed in schizophrenic patients: negativism, stereotypy, echolalia and echopraxia, muscular rigidity, phenomena of hebephrenic silliness, and catatonic excitement. Pointing out that such symptoms also appear in healthy people during hypnosis, Pavlov postulates more definitely the conclusion that the “schizophrenic symptoms are an expression of a chronic hypnotic state” and that “in certain variations schizophrenia is really chronic hypnosis”. According to Pavlov, this inhibition is based on a “weak nervous system, special weakness of the cortical cells which easily become exhausted since normal stimuli are also too strong for such weakened cells. Pavlov formulates his teaching on the healing and protective role of inhibition in schizophrenic patients. This teaching proved to be a deep theoretical substantiation of the formerly empiric treatment of schizophrenic patients with prolonged, artificially induced sleep.