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G., R. (1945). Orientation Data Regarding Psychoneurosis: Franklin G. Ebaugh, Colonel M. C. A.U.S. Bulletin of the U. S. Army Med. Dept., No. 82, November 1944.. Psychoanal Q., 14:142-143.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Orientation Data Regarding Psychoneurosis: Franklin G. Ebaugh, Colonel M. C. A.U.S. Bulletin of the U. S. Army Med. Dept., No. 82, November 1944.

(1945). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 14:142-143

Orientation Data Regarding Psychoneurosis: Franklin G. Ebaugh, Colonel M. C. A.U.S. Bulletin of the U. S. Army Med. Dept., No. 82, November 1944.

R. G.

Addressing his comments to medical and line officers, Colonel Ebaugh outlines briefly and simply some of the important factors in the genesis, the mechanisms, and the early recognition of neurotic disorders in military personnel. He prefaces his discussion with this statement: 'Without early consideration and correction, mild personality disorders in soldiers tend to become fixed. However, premature and unnecessary hospitalization is a disaster. Recovery is resisted unless assurance can be given that the soldier will not be returned to the same untenable situations that caused the symptoms.'

The soldier experiencing excessive anxiety may solve the problem in one of several ways. The personality may 'heed and utilize the "alarm"', and by the 'constructive use of awareness of anxiety in all its forms' prevent further anxiety. A second method is to meet anxiety by enduring it which can be successful to a limited degree and if unrelieved leads to the development of psychosomatic equivalents. The third method is an attempt to protect the ego through 'psychological evasions'—the development of a neurosis.

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There follow some brief but lucidly informative characterizations and discussions of anxiety states, hysterical reactions, hypochondriasis, obsessive compulsive states and psychosomatic disorders.

Older psychiatrists will raise a rueful eyebrow to read: 'During recent years it has become increasingly fashionable for physicians to ascribe disorders of unknown origin to psychoneurosis. In some circles of the armed services there is an increasing tendency to minimize known organic and physical defects as cause for complaints… Persons with psychoneurosis may have an independent organic disease.'

So much is said and written by military psychiatrists about malingering that it is of great value to have Colonel Ebaugh's forthright statement: 'True malingering is rare in the Army… The unfortunate equivalent "gold brick" is used as a punitive term which indicates a lack of understanding of human beings.'

Indeed, it might be added to Colonel Ebaugh's statement that the depth of psychiatric insight and the adequacy of a military psychiatrist's training is in inverse proportion to the frequency with which he finds or suspects malingering.

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Article Citation

G., R. (1945). Orientation Data Regarding Psychoneurosis. Psychoanal. Q., 14:142-143

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