Budapest between 1890 and 1900
In 1895, Dr. Julius Donath of the University of Budapest treated a young woman who suffered from obsessive and compulsive symptoms, including one symptom that revolved around her fear that she might cheat on her husband. Donath was so fascinated by her illness that he presented a paper on the subject to the Royal Society of Physicians in Budapest.
Johanna H., 23 years old, a telegraph employee, married for one year, came to see me on 30th June 1895. . . . Since the age of 5 she has had a tendency to sadness. . . . [S]he turned out to be a good student, with particular interest in Geography, Physics and Languages and had an excellent memory. However, her taciturnity continued. She cried easily. . . .
For the past six months she has developed the compulsive fear that she might commit an indiscretion with a man she has just met or seen; and cannot dismiss from her mind this most improbable situation, given that she is happily married; hence, if someone were to tell her that she has had sex with a man, she would immediately believe it. . . .
Her husband added important details which she had omitted. The compulsive idea of sexual intercourse with other men can be so intense that she has worn knickers made of strong linen, tightly fitted, closed at the front and back; in order not to reveal her condition to anyone else, she made this underwear herself. . . . Whenever he [the husband] had to go out, she asked him to lock her up in the house and take the key with him. If another man was in the house, the husband had to reassure her repeatedly that she had not been near him. . . .
[S]he believes that the compulsions [i.e., obsessions] are brought on because they concern "forbidden things". . . .
In spite of the severity of her complaints, however, she is currently able to discharge her job. The patient suffers from frequent sadness which seems secondary to her distressing compulsions. . . . When distracted from her compulsions by good company or by concentration on her work, she can feel happy. . . .
NOTE: Donath attempted to treat this patient using hypnosis, but, he says, she stopped coming to her appointments after only four hypnosis sessions.
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