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This study presents archival sources that shed light on a topic still being discussed by psychiatrists in East Germany: the death of two patients at the Leipzig Department that occurred in 1960 and 1962 under the directorship of Dietfried Müller-Hegemann. These fatalities were supposed to have been induced by obsolete psychotropic drugs and were associated with Ivan Pavlovs hypnotherapy. The incidents were investigated both by highest administrative bodies and the General State Prosecutor of the former GDR. Archival sources suggest that lower party organs and the ministerial administration tried to make use of the proceedings to bring about the downfall of the head of the Leipzig Department, who had become ideologically suspicious. However, the official General State Prosecutors investigation ascertained that both Müller-Hegemann and Christa Kohler, head of the psychotherapeutic ward, were not to be held responsible. Although the SED Central Committee at first tried to influence the outcome on the basis of ideological reservations made by the university party organisation, it finally accepted and confirmed the judgment of the General State Prosecutor. Hence, in this case, the highest party bodies followed arguments that were the result of an independent investigation and were not influenced by an individual bias or ideological motives. © Georg Thieme Verlag Stuttgart · New York.

V. Zerssen D.,Max Planck Institute For Psychiatrie
Fortschritte der Neurologie Psychiatrie | Year: 2011

The notion of imperial madness was coined in the historical literature and belles-lettres of the 19th century. Around that time up to the first quarter of the 20th century, it was adopted by a few German psychiatrists. Two of them viewed imperial madness as ordinary forms of insanity which became excessive only due to reactions of the social environment. Another one, however, classified it as one of mental borderland states in between insanity and normality, although he conceived the final stage of the disorder as a paranoid one. In agreement with the historians he postulated that imperial madness resulted from unlimited power of predisposed rulers. In recent times the whole concept of imperial madness was referred to the realm of legends by historians of antiquity and other historically interested authors. Yet the existence of the phenomenon cannot be denied. Despite its rarity it has played and is still playing an important role with often catastrophic consequences in various cultures all over the world. Therefore, psychiatrists and other physicians as well as clinical psychologists should be acquainted with it. From a modern point of view, it is not a paranoid disorder but rather a syndrome of addiction-like behavioural excesses representing an intensification of a Hybris syndrome as described by Anglo-Saxon psychiatrists. According to the present authors' view, it should be classified nosologically as a chronic adjustment disorder. In this case, the underlying stresses need to be extended to situations of temptation (here: the temptation to abuse almost unlimited power). © Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York.

Gerber B.,Leibniz Institute For Neurobiologie Lin | Gerber B.,Center for Behavioral Brain science | Gerber B.,Otto Von Guericke University of Magdeburg | Yarali A.,Leibniz Institute For Neurobiologie Lin | And 5 more authors.
Learning and Memory | Year: 2014

Memories relating to a painful, negative event are adaptive and can be stored for a lifetime to support preemptive avoidance, escape, or attack behavior. However, under unfavorable circumstances such memories can become overwhelmingly powerful. They may trigger excessively negative psychological states and uncontrollable avoidance of locations, objects, or social interactions. It is therefore obvious that any process to counteract such effects will be of value. In this context, we stress from a basic-research perspective that painful, negative events are "Janus-faced" in the sense that there are actually two aspects about them that are worth remembering: What made them happen and what made them cease. We review published findings from fruit flies, rats, and man showing that both aspects, respectively related to the onset and the offset of the negative event, induce distinct and oppositely valenced memories: Stimuli experienced before an electric shock acquire negative valence as they signal upcoming punishment, whereas stimuli experienced after an electric shock acquire positive valence because of their association with the relieving cessation of pain. We discuss how memories for such punishment- and relief-learning are organized, how this organization fits into the threat-imminence model of defensive behavior, and what perspectives these considerations offer for applied psychology in the context of trauma, panic, and nonsuicidal self-injury. © 2014 Simpson et al.; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.

Holsboer F.,Max Planck Institute For Psychiatrie
Nervenarzt | Year: 2010

As in the past, future depression research will be oriented to the genetics and pharmacology of antidepressants as well as molecular and clinical biomarkers. Using new technologies patient populations with practically equal disease mechanisms will be identified which can be specifically treated with new drugs or a combination of presently available drugs. This signifies the integration of neuroscientific knowledge into the diagnostics of depression. The application of a personalized depression therapy supported by genetic testing and biomarkers raises the possibility of early recognition of the risk of disease and a targeted intervention before the symptoms of disease emerge. © 2010 Springer-Verlag.

Ludwig II of Bavaria (Germany) entered the political stage at the age of 18, following the premature death of his father Maximilian II in 1864. At that time, Ludwig was a very handsome, slender young man; he was enthusiastic and had a pronounced taste for fine arts and music, and was admired by the people as a .,fairy tale king". However, already during the first years of his reign, he displayed traits that fulfilled the ICD-10 criteria for schizotypal disorder together with a combined cluster B personality disorder. They became even more pronounced over time. Towards the end of his life, Ludwig developed .,imperial madness", a typical pattern of behavioural excesses including craving for power, splendour, construction, unrestrained spending, excessive eating and sexual exploitation, revenge with a tendency for cruelty, and an inclination for theatrical and sometimes irrational acts. This complex syndrome is usually manifested in excessively egocentric rulers who have almost unlimited power or, in the case of Ludwig II, an overwhelming desire to possess it. His imperial madness was possibly contributed to by an orbitofrontal brain syndrome. One conjecture is that this condition reflected a neurodegenerative process; another is that a primary deficit, initiated by brain damage following a severe bout of meningitis during Ludwig's babyhood, played a role. In this case, functional compensation by other brain areas may have eventually been counteracted by chronic substance abuse in his thirties. The monarch's life ended tragically when he was 40 by which time he had become adipose and had lost most of his teeth; meanwhile, he was placed under tutelage, dismissed and detained. Before his death by drowning in Lake Starnberg (suicide? attempted escape), Ludwig apparently killed his psychiatrist, Bernhard von Gudden, who carelessly served as his sole attendant. Yet Ludwig's image as the beautiful fairy tale king is still alive in the hearts of successive generations of Bavarians and in the fascination demonstrated by the masses of tourists from throughout the world who visit (against his formerly declared wishes) his .,dream castles". © 2010 Springer-Verlag.

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