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Dreams of Paraplegics

JAMES H. RYAN, M.D.
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1961;5(3):286-291. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1961.01710150068011.
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Introduction  Too little attention is given to the emotional problems of physically handicapped patients. Only occasionally are their personality problems discussed in the physical medicine literature. Emotional responses to serious physical injury are deeply repressed, particularly in the paraplegic, and consequently are difficult to appreciate. In this paper we are presenting a series of dreams in order to demonstrate underlying conflictual themes.In the literature Dawson points out that older patients suffering from cerebrovascular accidents do poorly in rehabilitation programs because of the anxiety associated with the need to integrate new neuromuscular patterns.1 Zane describes certain personality types whose typical responses to any stress situation interfere with rehabilitation effects.2 The psychological turmoil of the paraplegic or paralytic polio patient is described by Litin. He describes the "phases" of convalescence and finds the most severe psychiatric symptoms weeks or months after the injury in

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