neurasthenia nyo͝or˝əsthē´nēa [key], condition characterized by general lassitude, irritability, lack of concentration, worry, and hypochondria. The term was introduced into psychiatry in 1869 by George M. Beard, an American neurologist; he believed it to be a neurosis with a fatigue component. Used by Freud to describe a fundamental disorder in mental functioning, the term was incorrectly applied to almost any psychoneurosis and has been largely abandoned. Beard's neurasthenia may have been the condition now called chronic fatigue syndrome.
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