Female And Male Hysteria: Causes , Symptoms And Treatment

Hysteria: Causes , Symptoms And Treatment

Hysteria Has a Long and illustrious History

Hysteria is a word that is used to denote emotional excess, but it was also used to describe a physical condition that was historically frequent.

 In layman’s words, hysteria is a phrase that is often used to describe emotionally charged conduct that seems excessive and out of hand.

When someone reacts in a manner that seems to be too emotional in relation to the circumstances, they are sometimes referred to as hysterical or out of control.

 During the Victorian period, the phrase was often used to refer to a variety of symptoms that were mainly detected solely in females at the time.

In 1980, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) eliminated hysteria as a diagnosable illness, despite the fact that it had previously been designated so.

Dissociative disorder or somatic symptom disorder are the most common diagnoses for those who display hysterical symptoms nowadays.

Hysteria may be characterized as a characteristic of various medical illnesses in which patients experience physical symptoms that are caused by a psychological state.

Modern Psychology’s View of Hysteria

The American Psychological Association modified their diagnostic of “hysterical neurosis, conversion type” to “conversion disorder” in 1980, replacing “conversion disorder” with “conversion disorder.”

Modern psychology acknowledges many forms of diseases that were formerly referred to be hysterical, such as dissociative disorders, somatic symptom and associated disorders, paranoid schizophrenia, and panic disorder.

Dissociative Disorders are a kind of mental illness.

Dissociative disorders are psychiatric illnesses that are characterized by an interruption (a dissociation) in components of consciousness, such as identity and memory, among other things.

Disorders such as dissociation fugue, dissociative identity disorder, and dissociative amnesia are all examples of this sort of condition.

Somatic Symptom Disorder is a medical condition that manifests as physical symptoms.

In the most current revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the DSM-5, symptoms that were formerly classified as hysterical now fall under the category of somatic symptom disorder.

There are various circumstances that are connected to one another:

  • Anxiety disorder associated with illness (formerly hypochondriasis)
  • Conversion disorder is a medical condition that occurs when a person converts from one religion to another (functional neurological symptom disorder)
  • Other specific somatic symptom and associated disease are listed below.
  • Other medical disorders are influenced by psychological issues.

What is meant by ‘mass hysteria’? Have you ever heard the word before?

Mass hysteria is a generic term that refers to a range of abnormal social actions that are perpetrated by a large number of individuals at the same time.

Hysteria is one of those terms that may be used to denote a multitude of things.

These interpretations are dependent on the context in which the term is used as well as the person who is speaking.

Occasionally, persons who are behaving unreasonably are referred to as ‘hysterical’. 

This is especially true if they are acting out of fear or terror.

In ancient Greece, the word hysteria was used to describe a wide range of mental illnesses, including mania and psychosis.

Due to the fact that the Greeks thought that these types of disruptions only happened in women, they called it after the female reproductive organ, the uterus (hysteria in Greek).

Beginning with older definitions and progressing to those accessible to current psychologists, this course will explain how the word “psychology” is employed in the field of psychology.

According to the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), conversion disorder (also known as Functional Neurological Symptom Disorder) is classified under the Somatic Symptom and Related Disorders category of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

A neurologic or other general medical problem is suspected when there are symptoms or impairments affecting voluntary motor or sensory function.

The symptoms cannot be explained by neurologic factors, and the results of a thorough evaluation that includes a detailed neurologic examination as well as appropriate laboratory and radiographic diagnostic tests either do not match the complaint or are inconsistent with the complaint after a thorough evaluation.

This means that there are organic medical disorders or disturbances in normal neurologic functioning that have symptoms that are not associated with an organic medical or neurologic etiology.

Blindness, diplopia, paralysis, dystonia, psychogenic nonepileptic seizures (PNES), anesthesia, aphonia, amnesia, dementia, unresponsiveness, swallowing difficulties, motor tics, hallucinations, pseudocyesis, and difficulty walking are just a few of the conversion symptoms that can manifest themselves in various ways.

Hysteria has a long and illustrious history that dates back thousands of years.

It was in ancient Egypt when the earliest accounts of hysteria occurring inside a female body were discovered and documented on the Kahun Papyri, which dates back to 1900 BC.

In this civilization, the womb was considered to be capable of impacting much of the rest of the body, but “there is little evidence to support the fantastical concept that the ancient Egyptians believed that a range of physiological problems were caused by a living, travelling womb,” according to one scholar.

Uterine prolapse was also a thing back then.

During the 5th and 4th centuries BC, the Hippocratic Corpus, a gynaecological treatise, addressed the phenomenon of a wandering womb. This description goes back to the 5th and 4th centuries BC.

The discussion between Plato and Socrates A woman’s uterus is likened to a living entity that roams throughout her body, “closing channels, hindering respiration, and creating sickness,” according to Timaeus.

Scented therapy was the conventional treatment for this “hysterical suffocation,” in which nice fragrances were put beneath a woman’s genitals and bad smells were placed in her nose, while sneezing may also be incited to force the uterus back into its proper position.
Later on, it was believed that the concept of a pathological “wandering womb” served as inspiration for the term hysteria, which is derived from uterus, which is the Greek cognate of the word hysteria (hysteria). 
However, the term hysteria does not appear in ancient Greek medicine: ‘the noun is not used during this period’.

While most Hippocratic authors considered the retention of menstrual blood in the womb to be a major concern, Galen considered the retention of “female seed” to be an even more severe issue.
This was thought to be thinner than male seed and so more likely to be kept in the womb.
Hysteria was formerly referred to as “the widow’s illness” because it was thought that the female sperm would become poisonous if it was not discharged via frequent climax or sexual contact.
If the patient was married, this may be completed by having sexual relations with their spouse, if they so desired.
In addition to engaging in sexual relations, it was believed that fumigating the body with particular perfumes would allegedly bring the uterus back to its native location in the female body.
It would be driven down by foul odors given to the nose, while nice fragrances applied to the vulva would attract it



Hysteria was characterized by symptoms such as partial paralysis, hallucinations, and anxiousness.
Other symptoms that are often associated with hysteria include:

  • a feeling of being out of breath
  • Anxiety
  • Fainting \Nervousness
  • Insomnia
  • Embrace of one’s sexuality
  • Irritability
  • Agitation

In ancient Greece, a physician named Hippocrates is credited with coining the phrase, which he related with the migration of a woman’s uterus to various regions throughout her body.

Ancient philosophers thought that a woman’s uterus could freely wander around her body, causing various symptoms and maladies in different parts of the body depending on where it went.

Women and Hysteria: A Historical Perspective On Mental Health

Hysteria is without a doubt the earliest mental condition to be attributed to women, having been correctly documented in the second millennium BC and being regarded an entirely female sickness until Freud’s time.

For more than 4000 years, this sickness has been examined from two different perspectives:

scientific and demonological, respectively.
As a result of its link with sorcery, it was treated with herbs, sex abstinence, and punishment and purification with fire. Finally, it was recognized as a sickness and treated with cutting-edge remedies.
Although scientific innovation had reached certain areas by the end of the nineteenth century, it had not yet reached others, where the only known treatments were those recommended by Galen.

Several studies conducted throughout the twentieth century asserted that hysteria was on the decrease among western patients (both women and men) while the illness was on the rise in non-Western nations (both women and men).

The DSM-III, published in 1980, does away with the notion of hysterical neurosis.
Since the emergence of these disorders seems to be associated with a process known as social “westernization,” determining under what circumstances the symptoms first became prevalent in various civilizations has been a goal for current research, rather than just focusing on risk factors.
History, hysteria, mental health, psychiatry, the West, and women are among the topics covered.

Hysteria in men

Women were more likely than males in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to be diagnosed with the mental illness known as hysteria.

It was at the turn of the twentieth century that the presence and nature of a so-called masculine hysteria (hysteria masculine) became a hotly disputed issue.

Men were thought to be immune to hysteria at one time since they did not have a uterus, which was later disproved.

During the 17th century, discourse identified the brain or the mind as the underlying cause of hysteria, rather than the reproductive organs. 

This idea was subsequently discredited.

While serving in World War I, hysterical soldiers were diagnosed with shell shock or war neurosis, which went on to influence current conceptions of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The concept of male hysteria was first related with the post-traumatic illness known as railway spine, and subsequently became associated with the condition known as war neurosis.

The influence of Freud and the decline of diagnosis

During the first decades of the twentieth century, the number of women diagnosed with female hysteria fell precipitously.

A variety of variables have been cited as contributing to this drop.

It has been suggested by some medical writers that the drop might be attributed to a better knowledge of the psychology of conversion illnesses such as hysteria.

Because there are so many different symptoms, hysteria has traditionally been regarded a catch-all diagnosis to which any unidentified illness may be given.

Throughout history, as diagnostic tools improved, the number of uncertain instances that may have been assigned to hysteria decreased significantly.

For example, prior to the development of electroencephalography, epilepsy was commonly mistaken for hysteria, which was a medical condition.

Hysteria, according to Sigmund Freud, is an emotional, internal disease that may affect both males and females and is triggered by a traumatic event in the past, which results in the person suffering from it being unable to enjoy sex in the typical manner.

Eventually, this would rise to Freud’s formulation of the Oedipus complex, which connotes femininity as a failure or a lack of masculinity, which he would later popularize.

Because the majority of hysterical research was conducted on women, even though previous studies had revealed that males were equally susceptible to the disease (including Freud himself), over time the disorder came to be associated with concerns of femininity rather than gender equality.

Many instances of hysteria that had previously been described as such were reclassified as anxiety neuroses by Sigmund Freud.

Sigmund Freud was captivated with instances of hysteria, which he studied in depth. 

He speculated that hysteria may have been associated with the unconscious mind and not with the conscious mind or the ego, as previously understood.

He was believed that persons suffering from hysteria were acting as a result of fundamental conflicts in their minds, some of which were related to instinctive desires for sex and hostility.

Psychoanalysis was established by Sigmund Freud in order to assist patients who had been diagnosed with hysteria in reducing internal tensions that were causing physical and mental distress.

While hysteria was reframed in the context of new legislation and was novel in concept, the prescribed therapy in psychoanalysis would remain what Bernheimer notes has been the case for centuries: marrying and having children in order to reclaim the “lost” phallus.

New beliefs about hysteria sprang from pure conjecture; doctors and physicians were unable to link symptoms to the condition, leading it to lose popularity as a diagnosis rather quickly.

Female hysteria is no longer recognized as a medical diagnosis, although distinct aspects of hysterical are recognized in other disorders such as schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, conversion disorder, and anxiety attacks, to name a few examples.


Developing a management plan for hysteria is essential to its treatment.

The first step is to address the symptoms of the condition (catharsis, counter-suggestion, hypnosis, narco-analysis, relaxation, focused psychoanalytical psychotherapy, drug therapy).

Afterwards, a technique aimed at altering the patient’s psychological structure may be regarded for consideration (supportive psychotherapy, psychoanalysis).

It is sometimes important to use a systematic approach.
Despite the fact that each aspect of the therapy must be carried out by a specialist, one physician must oversee the entire approach; this is a function that naturally falls to the family physician.

Tags: mental disorders, Psychiatric illness

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