Breath-Holding Spells in childhood: risk factors and paths development

Riccardo Di Palma


The child uses the body as a place and privileged means to express their distress and internal discomfort; it becomes the means through which the child communicates with the outside to draw the attention of adults or to express a request for care and listening. The body is the vehicle of important meanings regarding the quality of their emotional ties and the structuring of the Self. Psychosomatic medicine studies the relationship between mind and body; prolonged stress are at the origin of so-called psychosomatic diseases, classified as mixes responses, in which the subject is often aware only of the physical pain, unwittingly eluding the emotional component. A for the child, more it is small and more will have difficulty using language to express their discomfort. The purpose of this study to analyze in detail a particular disorder psychosomatic: Breath-Holding spells.

Several researches have followed over time to explain the etiology of this clinical picture, very interesting were the works of: Kreisler, Fain and Soulé (1976), which has different points of view were able to frame the Breath-Holding Spells in its aspects more peculiar, and thus covers both the underlying reasons that lead the child to the “discovery” of this disorder, both the implicit meanings that underlie it. Other studies have the child’s temperament in the etiopathogenesis of this clinical manifestation, opening a window on the over behavior of the child as a wake-up call for parents, healthcare and education for prevention.


breath-holding spells; infant; psychosomatic; anoxia; cyanotic; pallid; behavior

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