Observations placeholder

Hitler's Medicine Cabinet

Identifier

026846

Type of Spiritual Experience

Hallucination

Number of hallucinations: 1

Background

A description of the experience

Washington Post - SUBSTANCE ABUSE by Jerrold M. Post January 28, 1990

Hitler's Medicine Cabinet

Perhaps the most remarkable case of drug abuse by a 20th-century leader, and one which helped shape history, was that of Adolph Hitler. Over 70 medications were given to Hitler by his doctor, Theodore Morrell, who was widely known as a quack. Nicknamed "the Meister-Jabber" by Hermann Goering, Morrell, according to medical historian Hugh l'Etang's book "Pathology of Leadership," administered to Hitler "vitamins, bromides, barbiturates, cardiac stimulants, laxatives such as castor oil, desoxycorticosterone for muscular weakness, hormones both from the female placenta and from the testes and prostrate of young bulls, sulphanamides, penicillin powder for skin disorder and belladonna."

Moreover, Morrell daily gave his own golden Vitamultin tablets to Hitler. On chemical analysis, these were found to contain both caffeine and Pervitin, a form of amphetamine. He also injected Hitler with Eukodal (Percodan, a narcotic of equivalent strength to morphine) for his abdominal pains.

After the attempted assassination in July 1944, Hitler began receiving daily cocaine treatment for his chronic sinusitis. The drug, in 10-percent concentration, was frequently swabbed on Hitler's nostrils, and Hitler himself twice daily used an inhalator containing cocaine. Hitler's ear-nose-throat physician was later to testify that although Hitler was "not your common drug addict," nonetheless "his neuropathic constitution led to his finding certain drugs . . . like the cocaine in the sinus treatments I gave him, particularly pleasurable; and there was a clear indication toward becoming an habitual user of such medications as he himself admitted to be."

The precise effects of this pharmaceutical cocktail on Hitler's mental state is difficult to gauge. Suffice it to say, in the jargon of the street, that Hitler was simultaneously taking coke and "speed." Amphetamine alone would have had major deleterious effects upon Hitler's decision-making.

Among the initial effects of amphetamines which make it attractive to a leader in a crisis situation are an increase of alertness, lessened fatigue, feelings of well-being and lessened need for sleep. In a crisis, an individual "high" on stimulants may be insufficiently cautious or unduly optimistic. Compounding the felony, under sustained stress some will utilize serially stimulant and hypnotic drugs, producing a "high-low" sequence.

But with continued use, the feelings of well-being can mount to the point of euphoria, grandiosity and exaltation. Suspiciousness and irritability mount. There is a tendency to loss of emotional control and hyperactivity. Decisions are made without judicious consideration, in impulsive haste. Continued amphetamine use can lead to confusion about time and place, distractibility, vagueness, rambling speech, delusions of persecution, hallucinations and psychotic behavior resembling paranoid schizophrenia.

Hitler's biographers and the memoirs of German generals provide descriptions of Hitler's distractibility, irritability and sudden, apparently arbitrary decisionmaking. To confront Hitler with bad news was to precipitate an attack of rage and risk losing one's job. Many of these behaviors were in evidence earlier in his career before he was operating under the influence of drugs. Almost certainly the multiple drug use would have magnified many of the observed characteristics.

 

The source of the experience

Hitler, Adolf

Concepts, symbols and science items

Concepts

Symbols

Science Items

Activities and commonsteps

Commonsteps

References