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PHOBIA AS A SYMPTOM IN HYPERTHYROIDISM
BERNARD J. FICARRA; RALPH A. NELSON
Am J Psychiatry 1947;103:831-832.
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Assistant Visiting Surgeon, Kings County Hospital and Holy Family Hospital.

Psychologist, Holy Family Hospital.

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Abstract

One hundred fifteen hyperthyroid patients were studied from a psychological viewpoint. The presence of phobias was discerned to be a presenting symptom. The majority of patients presenting phobias were women. Eight men were found to have this complaint. In almost all cases the combination of thyroidectomy and intensive psychotherapy resulted in a disappearance of the phobia. This survey argues for an adequate history-taking of patients suspected of possessing a phobia or presenting it as a major complaint. To label such persons as neurotics, neurasthenics or psychasthenics may be an injustice.Additional information, an adequate physical examination and laboratory studies should be made to rule out underlying thyroid disease. In the particular field of hyperthyroidism the close cooperation of the surgeon and a competent psychologist often reaps a worthy reward. This cooperation on many occasions has saved the neurotic patient from a needless thyroidectomy; even as the surgeon's scalpel has eliminated prolonged psychological treatment of patients with hyperthyroidism.

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