Health-Healing Health Studies Hypochondriasis


Catalog # SKU3699
Author Name John Hill, G. S. Rousseau
ISBN 10: 0000000000
ISBN 13: 0000000000000



A Practical Treatise

John Hill

Introduction by
G. S. Rousseau

The medical background of Hill's pamphlet extends further back than the seventeenth century and Burton's Anatomy. The ancient Greeks had theorized about hypochondria: it signified a disorder beneath the gristle and the disease was discussed principally in physiological terms.

Larger Print, 13 point font



The belief that hypochondriasis was a somatic condition persisted until the second half of the seventeenth century at which time an innovation was made by Dr. Thomas Sydenham. In addition to showing that hypochondriasis and hysteria (thought previously by Sydenham to afflict women only) were the same disease, Sydenham noted that the external cause of both was a mental disturbance and not a physiological one. He also had a theory that the internal and immediate cause was a disorder of the animal spirits arising from a clot and resulting in pain, spasms, and bodily disorders. By attributing the onset of the malady to mental phenomena and not to obstructions of the spleen or viscera, Sydenham was moving towards a psychosomatic theory of hypochondriasis, one that was to be debated in the next century in England, Holland, and France.

To call the Hypochondriasis a fanciful malady, is ignorant and cruel. It is a real, and a sad disease: an obstruction of the spleen by thickened and distempered blood; extending itself often to the liver, and other parts; and unhappily is in England very frequent: physick scarce knows one more fertile in ill; or more difficult of cure.

The blood is a mixture of many fluids, which, in a state of health, are so combined, that the whole passes freely through its appointed vessels; but if by the loss of the thinner parts, the rest becomes too gross to be thus carried through, it will stop where the circulation has least power; and having thus stopped it will accumulate; heaping by degrees obstruction on obstruction.

Health and chearfulness, and the quiet exercise of mind, depend upon a perfect circulation: is it a wonder then, when this becomes impeded the body looses of its health, and the temper of its sprightliness? to be otherwise would be the miracle; and he inhumanly insults the afflicted, who calls all this a voluntary frowardness. Its slightest state brings with it sickness, anguish and oppression; and innumerable ills follow its advancing steps, unless prevented by timely care; till life itself grows burthensome.

The disease was common in antient Greece; and her physicians understood it, better than those perhaps of later times, in any other country; who though happy in many advantages these fathers of the science could not have, yet want the great assistance of frequent watching it in all its stages.

Those venerable writers have delivered its nature, and its cure: in the first every thing now shews they were right; and what they have said as to the latter will be found equally true and certain. This, so far as present experience has confirmed it, and no farther, will be here laid before the afflicted in a few plain words.

76 pages - 5½ x 8½ softcover

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