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Imaginary Troubles

Sources: Papers On Health

These are of two kinds, the one purely imaginary,

the other where bodily trouble is mixed with the imagined. In the first

case the patient is in agony with a pain, when nothing wrong can be

discovered in the part, or even elsewhere, to account for it. In such a

case, proper treatment of the BRAIN or SPINE (see) will often

relieve. Again, a patient has set up such a standard of health that

what would not trouble any ord
nary person at all, gives him much

distress. An intermitting pulse often is a source of great anxiety; but

we have known people with intermitting pulses continuing in good health

for forty years, and living to old age. So with many other heart

symptoms that need give no concern at all. Sprains to some muscles are

often taken for serious internal inflammation, and a slight cough and

spit are taken for consumption. Care must be taken to resist all such

fancies, and if not otherwise removable, thoroughly competent medical

advice will often put the patient right. In such a case a medical man

of undoubted high standing is best consulted, for an inferior

practitioner may nearly kill the patient by arousing needless fears,

which are afterwards difficult to remove. See Hysteria.

It must be remembered that diseases of the imagination are as actually

painful to the patient as if they really were organic troubles. It is,

therefore, useless to laugh at or pooh pooh the trouble, or suggest

that the sufferer is only humbugging. Attention must be paid to diet,

exercise, and to material, mental, and moral surroundings, so as in

every way to relieve the patient from those apparent troubles that so

annoy him. Great gentleness, firmness, hopefulness, and sympathy will

often bring about an almost unconscious cure. If the trouble has been

brought about by over-work and worry, complete rest will often be

needed. If there is something in the surroundings that jars, a change

may be advisable.