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Fisher, C. (1945). Amnesic States in War Neuroses: The Psychogenesis of Fugues. Psychoanal Q., 14:437-468.

(1945). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 14:437-468

Amnesic States in War Neuroses: The Psychogenesis of Fugues

Charles Fisher, Ph.D.

Amnesic states occur with great frequency in war neuroses, both in individuals who have seen active combat and in those faced with the threat of battle experience. Torrie (1) found that amnesia, including fugue, occurred in eight and six tenths percent of one thousand cases of anxiety neuroses and hysteria which developed in one of the African campaigns. Henderson and Moore (2), reporting two hundred neurosychiatric patients studied in the South Pacific, found that five percent who had seen combat had an amnesia for the event. They also noted that fifty percent of their combat cases were rendered unconscious and that many of these had amnesia after regaining consciousness. Grinker and Spiegel (3) have likewise called attention to the frequency with which fugues and fuguelike states occurred during the Tunisian campaign.

Although these states are so common under military conditions, as well as in civilian life, it is worthy of note that in the psychiatric and psychoanalytic literature few detailed studies from the point of view of psychodynamics have appeared. In his Outline of Clinical Psychoanalysis, Fenichel (4) does not even mention fugues. This neglect of the study of amnesic states is especially deplorable since psychoanalysis is so much concerned with distortions of memory that one might presuppose a concomitant interest in the specific diseases of memory.

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