Neurasthenia and Depression in Chinese Culture

  • W. H. Lo


George Beard first used the term “neurasthenia” in a paper read before the New York Medical Journal Association in 1868 and later in his monograph he listed over 50 discrete symptoms and signs which may be grouped into seven major categories as shown in Table I (Nemiah 1975). For half a century following Beard’s work “neurasthenia” became an increasingly popular diagnosis and a flood of publications on this subject appeared in English, French and German. By World War II, however, neurasthenia was mentioned with diminishing frequency in Western countries and many symptoms earlier described by Beard were stripped off from this condition which has returned in a more restricted form with weakness, fatigue and exhaustion as the main manifestation.


Chinese Traditional Medicine Sexual Dysfunction Traditional Healer Main Manifestation Folk Belief 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Mayer-Gross, W., Slater, E., and Roth, M., Clinical Psychiatry London: Bailliere Tindael, 1977, p. 81.Google Scholar
  2. Nemiah, J.C., “Neurasthenic Neurosis” in Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry (ed. A.M. Freedman) , vol. I, Baltimore: Williams and Wilkins, 1978, p. 1264.Google Scholar
  3. Tseng, W.S., and McDermott, J.F., “Psychotherapy : historical roots, universal elements and cultural variations” Am. J. Psychiat., 1975, vol. 132:378.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. H. Lo
    • 1
  1. 1.Mental Health ServiceMedical and Health DepartmentHong Kong

Personalised recommendations