The beginnings of modern psychiatric treatment in Europe: Lessons from an early account of convulsive therapy

Brigitta Baran, I. Bitter, Gabor S. Ungvari, Zoltán Nagy, G. Gazdag

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Convulsive therapy (COT) is a major European contribution to the psychiatric armamentarium and biological psychiatry. COT was introduced in psychiatry by László Meduna, a Hungarian neuropsychiatrist. All subsequent publications about the first patient treated with COT, Zoltán L (ZL), were based on Meduna's papers and autobiography. After 4 years of catatonic stupor, ZL received camphor-induced COT which resulted in full remission and discharge from the institution. The aim of this paper is to reconstruct ZL's case history from the original case notes-partly written by Meduna himself-which were recovered from the archives of the National Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology. The case notes show that ZL repeatedly received COT between 1934 and 1937, first with camphor and then with cardiazol induction. After the first course of COT the catatonic stupor was resolved and the psychotic symptoms subsided. However, the remission lasted for only a few months and was followed by a relapse. Despite repeated courses of COT, ZL never became symptom free again, was never discharged and died in the Institute in 1945. This historical case is discussed from both the diagnostic and therapeutic points of view, and an attempt is made to explain the possible reasons for the discrepancies found between Meduna's account and ZL's case notes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)434-440
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience
Volume258
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2008

Fingerprint

Convulsive Therapy
Psychiatry
Camphor
Stupor
Therapeutics
Autobiography
Biological Psychiatry
Pentylenetetrazole
Neurology
Publications
Recurrence

Keywords

  • Camphor
  • Cardiazol
  • Convulsive treatment
  • History of psychiatry
  • László Meduna

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Pharmacology (medical)

Cite this

The beginnings of modern psychiatric treatment in Europe : Lessons from an early account of convulsive therapy. / Baran, Brigitta; Bitter, I.; Ungvari, Gabor S.; Nagy, Zoltán; Gazdag, G.

In: European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience, Vol. 258, No. 7, 10.2008, p. 434-440.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{598c2eb865e04ddb8f70eea308f461d9,
title = "The beginnings of modern psychiatric treatment in Europe: Lessons from an early account of convulsive therapy",
abstract = "Convulsive therapy (COT) is a major European contribution to the psychiatric armamentarium and biological psychiatry. COT was introduced in psychiatry by L{\'a}szl{\'o} Meduna, a Hungarian neuropsychiatrist. All subsequent publications about the first patient treated with COT, Zolt{\'a}n L (ZL), were based on Meduna's papers and autobiography. After 4 years of catatonic stupor, ZL received camphor-induced COT which resulted in full remission and discharge from the institution. The aim of this paper is to reconstruct ZL's case history from the original case notes-partly written by Meduna himself-which were recovered from the archives of the National Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology. The case notes show that ZL repeatedly received COT between 1934 and 1937, first with camphor and then with cardiazol induction. After the first course of COT the catatonic stupor was resolved and the psychotic symptoms subsided. However, the remission lasted for only a few months and was followed by a relapse. Despite repeated courses of COT, ZL never became symptom free again, was never discharged and died in the Institute in 1945. This historical case is discussed from both the diagnostic and therapeutic points of view, and an attempt is made to explain the possible reasons for the discrepancies found between Meduna's account and ZL's case notes.",
keywords = "Camphor, Cardiazol, Convulsive treatment, History of psychiatry, L{\'a}szl{\'o} Meduna",
author = "Brigitta Baran and I. Bitter and Ungvari, {Gabor S.} and Zolt{\'a}n Nagy and G. Gazdag",
year = "2008",
month = "10",
doi = "10.1007/s00406-008-0816-9",
language = "English",
volume = "258",
pages = "434--440",
journal = "Archiv fur Psychiatrie und Nervenkrankheiten",
issn = "0940-1334",
publisher = "Springer Verlag",
number = "7",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - The beginnings of modern psychiatric treatment in Europe

T2 - Lessons from an early account of convulsive therapy

AU - Baran, Brigitta

AU - Bitter, I.

AU - Ungvari, Gabor S.

AU - Nagy, Zoltán

AU - Gazdag, G.

PY - 2008/10

Y1 - 2008/10

N2 - Convulsive therapy (COT) is a major European contribution to the psychiatric armamentarium and biological psychiatry. COT was introduced in psychiatry by László Meduna, a Hungarian neuropsychiatrist. All subsequent publications about the first patient treated with COT, Zoltán L (ZL), were based on Meduna's papers and autobiography. After 4 years of catatonic stupor, ZL received camphor-induced COT which resulted in full remission and discharge from the institution. The aim of this paper is to reconstruct ZL's case history from the original case notes-partly written by Meduna himself-which were recovered from the archives of the National Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology. The case notes show that ZL repeatedly received COT between 1934 and 1937, first with camphor and then with cardiazol induction. After the first course of COT the catatonic stupor was resolved and the psychotic symptoms subsided. However, the remission lasted for only a few months and was followed by a relapse. Despite repeated courses of COT, ZL never became symptom free again, was never discharged and died in the Institute in 1945. This historical case is discussed from both the diagnostic and therapeutic points of view, and an attempt is made to explain the possible reasons for the discrepancies found between Meduna's account and ZL's case notes.

AB - Convulsive therapy (COT) is a major European contribution to the psychiatric armamentarium and biological psychiatry. COT was introduced in psychiatry by László Meduna, a Hungarian neuropsychiatrist. All subsequent publications about the first patient treated with COT, Zoltán L (ZL), were based on Meduna's papers and autobiography. After 4 years of catatonic stupor, ZL received camphor-induced COT which resulted in full remission and discharge from the institution. The aim of this paper is to reconstruct ZL's case history from the original case notes-partly written by Meduna himself-which were recovered from the archives of the National Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology. The case notes show that ZL repeatedly received COT between 1934 and 1937, first with camphor and then with cardiazol induction. After the first course of COT the catatonic stupor was resolved and the psychotic symptoms subsided. However, the remission lasted for only a few months and was followed by a relapse. Despite repeated courses of COT, ZL never became symptom free again, was never discharged and died in the Institute in 1945. This historical case is discussed from both the diagnostic and therapeutic points of view, and an attempt is made to explain the possible reasons for the discrepancies found between Meduna's account and ZL's case notes.

KW - Camphor

KW - Cardiazol

KW - Convulsive treatment

KW - History of psychiatry

KW - László Meduna

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=54949147208&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=54949147208&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1007/s00406-008-0816-9

DO - 10.1007/s00406-008-0816-9

M3 - Article

C2 - 18504632

AN - SCOPUS:54949147208

VL - 258

SP - 434

EP - 440

JO - Archiv fur Psychiatrie und Nervenkrankheiten

JF - Archiv fur Psychiatrie und Nervenkrankheiten

SN - 0940-1334

IS - 7

ER -