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HYSTERIA Definition & Legal Meaning

Definition & Citations:

A paroxysmal disease or disorder of the nervous system, more commonin females than males, not originating in any anatomical lesion, due to psychic ratherthan physical causes, and attended, in the acute or convulsive form, by extraordinarymanifestations of secondary effects of extreme nervousness.Hysteria is a state in which ideas control the body and produce morbid changes inits functions. Mtebius. A special psychic state, characterized by symptoms which canalso be produced or reproduced by suggestion, and which can be treated bypsychotherapy or persuasion, hysteric and hypnotic states being practically equivalentto each other. Babinski. A purely psychic or mental disorder due to hereditarypredisposition. Charcot. A state resulting from a psychic lesion or nervous shock,leading to repression or aberration of the sexual instinct. Freud. Hysteria is much morecommon in women than in men, and was formerly thought to be due to some disorderof the uterus or sexual system; but it is now known that it may occur in men, inchildren, and in very aged persons of either sex.In the convulsive form of hysteria, commonly called “hysterics” or “a fit of hysterics,”there is nervestorm characterized by loss or abandonment of self-control in theexpression of the emotions, particularly grief, by paroxysms of tears or laughter or bothtogether, sensations of constriction as of a ball rising in the throat (globus hystericus),convulsive movements in the chest, pelvis, and abdomen, sometimes leading to a fallwith apparent unconsciousness, followed by a relapse into semi- unconsciousness orcatalepsy. In the non-convulsive forms, all kinds of organic paralyses may be simulated,as well as muscular contractions and spasms, tremor, loss of sensation (a>ir wstlwsia)or exaggerated sensation (hyperesthesia). disturbances of respiration, disordered appetite,accelerated pulse, hemorrhages in the skin (stigmata), pain, swelling, or evendislocation of the joints, and great amenability to suggestion.


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