The effect of severe fright which might occur in battle or in a tragic accident is occasionally a disorganization of an individual’s motor nervous system which renders him incapable of skillful movement. This motor disorganization frequently persists and the victim behaves continually as if the original traumatic situation were still in existence.
Tremor of the hand may be so intense that he is incapable of buttoning a coat. There is a reduction of muscular strength and in severe anxiety states there is often a loss of kinesthetic sense resulting in an incapacity to stand and walk. Recovery does not occur until improvement in the mental state is made.
A person with subnormal tolerance for exercise experiences breathlessness, rapid beating of the heart, sweating, and dizziness on even such mild exertion as climbing a short flight of stairs. Such effort intolerance may be due to a constitutional inferiority present since infancy, or it may have developed from emotional disturbance.
The effort syndrome may not be recognized if the individual avoids heavy physical work. Possessing a frail physique and a conviction that he has always had a “weak heart” or “lung trouble,” he has always dreaded the supposed ill effects of vigorous physical exercise. The response of the heart and respiration to exercise is usually as poor as if he possessed the suppose heart and lung disorders.
Under pressure of a job requiring occasional physical exertion the effort syndrome is seen. Under such a condition of pressure his feelings of insufficiency may be exaggerated until he is out of harmony with his surroundings. Recovery commences when he is restored to an environment which is within his effort capacity and when no further intense pressures are anticipated. The effect upon this individual of a program of physical education which does not consider individual differences in response to exercise would probably be to increase emotional conflict and result in further motor disorganization.