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Brain Cells And Mental Operations

While the theories of neuronic action we have discussed do not
represent absolute knowledge, they are at least suggestive and helpful
in psychotherapy. Whenever there are disturbances of mental
operations, patients are likely to become very solicitous, lest these
represent organic and incurable changes. The application of Ramon y
Cajal's neuroglia theory serves to bring out the fact that most of
them can be very well explained as merely functional, due to passing
disturbances of activity, and not necessarily to tissue changes. When
patients become possessed of the fear that certain nervous symptoms
portend definite injuries to the nervous system, this unfavorable
suggestion keeps them from using, to its proper and full extent for
repair and convalescence, the nervous energy which they possess. This
disturbing influence can be counteracted by a straightforward
exposition of Ramon y Cajal's or the newer English theory of brain

Patients become very much disturbed if they observe a failure of
certain faculties in themselves, and are prone to think that such a
failure means serious exhaustion or enduring change. The power of
attention is one of the faculties often disturbed in neurotic cases
and causes patients needless solicitude. Disturbances of memory are
the next most alarming elements in these cases. There are then many
forms of mental distraction, absorption and preoccupation that
sometimes frighten neurotic individuals who have become solicitous
about themselves. Though only passing incidents, due to overattention
to themselves and their ills, real or fancied, and the consequent lack
of concentration of mind on a particular subject, the patients fear
serious deterioration of their mental condition, or at least of mental
control. The neuroglia theory of mental action throws a light on all
these phases of mentality that serves to lessen the solicitude of
patients and enable them to understand that, in spite of their fears,
there is nothing but functional disturbance. The condition can be
readily explained and it admits of complete restoration to health.

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