narcosis närkō´sĭs [key], state of stupor induced by drugs. The use of narcotics as a therapeutic aid in psychiatry is believed to have a history dating back to the use of opium for mental disorders by the early Egyptians. Prolonged narcosis was employed at the beginning of the 20th cent.; its chief value was the reduction of excitement and tension in the psychotic patient. J. S. Horsley introduced (1936) the term narcoanalysis for the use of narcotics to induce a trancelike state in which the patient talks freely and intensive psychotherapy may be applied. It was used with considerable success in treatment of acute combat psychoneuroses during World War II.
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