Nietzsche, Friedrich

Nietzsche, Friedrich
(1844-1900)
   A German irrationalist philosopher who in 1889 experienced a manic-psychotic breakdown and spent the last 10 years of his life in a demented state. Although Nietzsche's initial psychiatric symptoms included mania, euphoria, delusions of grandeur, agitation, and lack of insight, references to any * sensory deceptions are restricted to the * fortification spectra experienced throughout his life in the context of migraine, and the * ecstatic states, sometimes tentatively referred to as * visions, experienced in 1888 and 1889 during his stay in Turin, Italy. Throughout his work one finds scattered references to 'a voice', but none of these can be regarded as proof of actual *verbal auditory hallucinations. Whether Nietzsche experienced any hallucinations during the protracted final course of his illness, which was spent in a state of apathy and dementia, is purely speculative. The cause of Nietzsche's illness is still obscure. Various suggestions have been made, the most likely of which would seem to be general paralysis of the insane (GPI, i.e. neurolues) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD).
   References
   Jaspers, K. (1997). Nietzsche. An introduction to the understanding of his philosophical activity. Translated by Wallraff, C.F., Schmitz, F.J. Baltimore, MA: Johns Hopkins University Press.
   Orth, M., Trimble, M.R. (2006). Friedrich Nietzsche's mental illness -General paralysis ofthe insane vs. frontotemporal dementia. Acta Psy-chiatrica Scandinavica, 114, 439—144.
   Schain, R. (2001). The legend of Nietzsche's syphilis. London: Greenwood Press.

Dictionary of Hallucinations. . 2010.

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