American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A psychological disorder characterized by chronic fatigue and weakness, loss of memory, and generalized aches and pains, formerly thought to result from exhaustion of the nervous system. No longer in scientific use.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. In medicine, nervous debility; nervous exhaustion.
- n. psychiatry An ill-defined medical condition characterized by lassitude, fatigue, headache, and irritability, associated chiefly with emotional disturbance.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Med.) A condition of nervous debility supposed to be dependent upon impairment in the functions of the spinal cord.
- n. nervous breakdown (not in technical use)
“While the term neurasthenia is becoming daily more familiar to the general public, it is being, on the whole, used, except as a convenient handle, rather less among neurologists.”
“In her presence he always felt a rage against what he called her neurasthenia -- a word he frequently used in drawing up bills for divorce.”
“So, recognizing the accuracy of the beautiful analysis of Professor Déjérine of what he calls neurasthenia, we venture to assimilate it with the equally true analysis which Babinski has made of the immediate mechanism of what he wishes to call pithiatism.”
“Some have mistakenly compared CFS to what was called neurasthenia in the late 1800s—a condition that was thought to be caused by reading newspapers and, in the case of women, by education.”
“In the condition known as neurasthenia, which is often taken as a type of a functional disease, the basal and intrinsic cause is activity of the nervous system with the using up of material which is not compensated for by the renewal which comes in repose and sleep.”
“The only quarrel I have with the name neurasthenia is that it diverts attention from the real condition oftenest to be treated, namely, the faulty mental tendency, and directs attention to an assumed debility which may or may not exist.”
“In sickness, especially in that condition known as neurasthenia, where the main symptoms cluster around an abnormal liability to fatigue, and also in many other conditions, there is an increase in the diffusion of excitement so that one starts all over at a noise, instead of merely turning to see what it is, so that expectation and attention become painful and fatiguing.”
“The disease known as neurasthenia arises both in women _and in men_ in consequence of these methods.”
“It seems to the reviewer indeed, that what the authors call neurasthenia is merely a somewhat complex elaboration of the psychosis by induction to which Babinski has restricted the name hysteria.”
“The most important of the psychoneuroses, in so far as the housewife is concerned, is the condition called neurasthenia, although two other diseases, psychasthenia and hysteria, are of importance.”
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