'Paralysed with fears and worries': Neurasthenia as a gender specific disease of civilisation

H. Oosterhuis*, J. Slijkhuis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Around 1900 neurasthenia received much attention in both the medical world and society at large. Based on professional publications by Dutch psychiatrists and neurologists and on patient records from the Rhijngeest sanatorium near Leiden in the Netherlands, this article addresses the meanings and interpretations of this nervous disorder as put forward by doctors and patients. We argue that their understanding of this disorder was determined not only by medical views, but also by social-cultural factors and prevailing gender norms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-93
Number of pages15
JournalHistory of Psychiatry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013


  • Bourgeois morality
  • Netherlands
  • gender
  • neurasthenia
  • psychiatry
  • sexuality

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