Study of Organ Inferiority and Its Psychical Compensation: A Contribution to Clinical Medicine, Issue 24

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Nervous and Mental Disease Publishing Company, 1917 - Neurology - 86 pages
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At the beginning of the twentieth century Alfred Adler (1870- 1937) investigated the influence of physical inferiority on the development of normal and pathologic mental trends, joining in 1902 the group gathered around Freud. As early as 1907, however, his studies on organ inferiority resulted in conclusions that were irreconcilable with Freud's theories. Circa 1912 he separated from Freud and founded his own school of Individual Psychology. What Adler called "organ inferiority" is a condition that might occur as a familial tendency or as a situation in one individual. When the tendency was familial in nature one might find that a whole series of members suffered from a disorder that tended to attack one organ, and when organ inferiority is an individual tendency a disease would be liable to localize in the inferior organ since it is a common experience to find that inferior organs fail first in their functions when the organism is infected or under a particular stress. To Adler the inferiority represented a defect in the material available for the construction of a normal well balanced personality pattern, and it became a point of crystallization for the mental superstructure of compensation and hypercompensation; moreover, this organ inferiority tends to increase the feeling of inferiority experienced by every child resulting in an intensification of the striving towards an often unattainable goal. In the course of this striving the personality may become distorted and exhibit the traits of a "neurosis" or of a character disorder. This whole concept later became known popularly as the "inferiority complex" and was extended to include psychical deficiencies the personality reaction to which was often one of overcorrection of the original disorder. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2005 APA, all rights reserved).

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Page 87 - Neurotic Constitution. By DR. ALFRED ADLER. Authorized translation by Bernard Glueck, MD, Director Psychiatric Clinic, Sing Sing Prison and John E. Lind, MD, Instructor in Psychiatry, Georgetown Medical College. 8vo. Price $3.50.
Page 56 - ... quite capable functionally and even at times somewhat better adapted to external circumstances, since they have derived their increase in strength in overcoming these external obstacles and have consequently stood the test.
Page 27 - The cause lies in the compulsion of a constant training in the capacity for adaptation and variability often adhering to inferior organs, and surely also in the development of the related nervous and psychic complexes heightened by inner attention and mental concentration upon the weaker organ.
Page 15 - He suffered from chronic coryza, swelling of the pharyngeal tonsil and of the turbinates. The older sister suffered from spasmodic sneezing (unfortunately we can get no report about it) and in her thirty-fifth year underwent an operation for myoma. The younger sister in her childhood suffered from enuresis and frequently had nasal catarrh and recurring laryngitis. The older sister is childless, the younger had three difficult births, in which hydramnios was present with extraordinarily large children....
Page 57 - ... transformation of a hereditary lack of reflex to an increase of reflex capability, but above all in a psychical manner, for the reason that a particular interest seeks to protect the inferior organ and endeavors to ward off the harm by constant attention, and the psyche on a small scale, perhaps, gives the impulse to awaken the attention, to increase it and to connect it with that organ.
Page 63 - In anticipation we will emphasize at this point the fact that this work aims to refer all phenomena of neuroses and psychoneuroses back to organ inferiority, to the degree and nature of the not quite successful central compensation and to compensatory disturbances which enter into the matter.
Page 5 - ... biological conditions, would have it appear that fundamentally just the most highly developed differentiated cells and cell complexes have come out the worst, while the tissues of lesser capacity, which owe their development to an earlier embryologic epoch, may be normally or even supernormally developed But just as often, perhaps the hour comes when the insufficiency of the organ is revealed, when the external and internal hindrances can no longer be controlled. The normal structure and wear...
Page x - ... now resorted to, not only the sum of the phenomena presenting themselves, the phases, so to speak, of the contest, will have to be taken into consideration, but the valuation of the organ has also to be effected, and we must fix our eyes upon the relation of this value to the disease-exciting force. These explanations will serve to substantiate the fact that a study of the inferiority of organs is at the foundation of some of the most important problems of pathology. In the following pages I...
Page 11 - The Part Played by the Central Nervous System in the Theory of Organ Inferiority. Psychogenesis and Foundations of Neuroses and Psychoses," he presents views which have been developed at great length in The Neurotic Constitution.
Page 13 - The introduction of heredity in cases of genuine epilepsy seems comparatively free from objections. The anomalies of form in the brain emphasized by Meynert and others coincide with our morphologic inferiorities. We shall have to lay claim to the epileptic equivalent, the imbecility which occurs, as a functional inferiority of the brain.

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