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Eder, M.D. (1930). Insomnia: By H. Crichton-Miller, M.A., M.D. (London: Edwin Arnold & Co. Pp. xii + 172. Price 10 s. 6 d. net.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 11:511-511.

(1930). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 11:511-511

Insomnia: By H. Crichton-Miller, M.A., M.D. (London: Edwin Arnold & Co. Pp. xii + 172. Price 10 s. 6 d. net.)

Review by:
M. D. Eder

A second monograph on sleeplessness appearing during the last few months testifies to the importance attached to the treatment of this symptom. In the valuable bibliography appended to this book there is no reference to any psycho-analytic work or article on the subject; this is no oversight. There is nothing in the analytic literature. Why have these prolific writers seemed so neglectful or reticent? Patients who come to the analysts for treatment complain of insomnia just as do those who seek other methods of treatment, but apparently during psycho-analysis it ceases to play so predominant a part as to call for any special exposition—to leave out special treatment altogether. In reading Crichton-Miller's book I am reminded that I have not once found it necessary to prescribe a drug or give any special therapeutic directions for a patient's insomnia who was in regular analysis. This statement does not include non-analytic patients, nor does it mean that there is or could be any attempt on the analyst's part to minimize or pooh-pooh this particular trouble. A review is not the place to offer an explanation of this curiosity, but its solution will be found, partially, in Rank's view of the psycho-analytic situation.

Crichton-Miller does his best with the ungrateful task of reviewing and criticizing the many definitions of sleep—physiological, psychological and biological—and concludes that no adequate theory has yet been formulated. In civilized society a great part is played by suggestion and tradition. This is just now vividly brought home to me. I am writing this notice in a French spa, more especially devoted to the treatment of children—le Paradis des enfants—for asthma and a host of other troubles. The children from a couple of years old sit at table with their parents—late dinners, usual hotel food, yes, wine—and are up and about till ten o'clock or later playing with other children or meandering with their parents. The hours of treatment are from five to eleven in the morning It would shock any Norland nurse, or even a fairly sensible Nanny, but so far as I know there is no proved physical deficiency of the French people as compared with the British.

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