Psychiatric Theories of Bowlby, and of Barloon and Noyes

Ralph Colp Jr. M.D.

in Darwin's Illness

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print June 2008 | ISBN: 9780813032313
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813039237 | DOI:
Psychiatric Theories of Bowlby, and of Barloon and Noyes

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In studying Charles Darwin's illness, John Bowlby, Thomas Barloon and Russell Noyes drew on information about the illness given in To Be an Invalid, the volumes of Darwin's Correspondence and the Calendar of the Correspondence, and advances in adult and child psychiatry. Bowlby's contentions about the hyperventilation syndrome and the impact on Darwin's health of his mother's death raise various difficulties. Seven years after the publication of Bowlby's contentions two American physicians—Thomas Barloon, a radiologist, and Russell Noyes Jr., a psychiatrist—postulated that Darwin's illness resembled panic disorder. They believe that, concomitant with panic disorder, Darwin had features of agoraphobia, which the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV) defines as “anxiety about being in places or situations from which escape might be difficult (or embarrassing) or in which help may not be available in the event of having a Panic Attack...or panic-like symptoms.... The anxiety typically leads to a pervasive avoidance of a variety of situations”. It is also noted that “panic disorder with agoraphobia” is a diagnosis that only partly explains the manifestations of Darwin's illness.

Keywords: Charles Darwin; John Bowlby; Thomas Barloon; Russell Noyes; hyperventilation syndrome; panic disorder; agoraphobia

Chapter.  1590 words. 

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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