Hysteria: Description, Causes and Risk Factors: ICD-10: F44.9. A neurotic disorder characterized by a wide variety of somatic and mental symptoms resulting from dissociation, typically beginning during adolescence or early adulthood and occurring more commonly in women than men. HysteriaHistrionic personality disorder has a prevalence of approximately 2-3% of the general population. It begins in early adulthood and has been diagnosed more frequently in women than in men. Histrionic personalities are typically self-centered and attention seeking. They operate on emotion, rather than fact or logic, and their conversation is full of generalizations and dramatic appeals. While the patient's enthusiasm, flirtatious behavior, and trusting nature may make them appear charming, their need for immediate gratification, mercurial displays of emotion, and constant demand for attention often alienates them from others. Hysteria is a mental disorder mainly arising from intense anxiety. The most common causes of hysteria are sexual repression, perverted habits of thought, and idleness. Heredity plays an important part in its causation. A nervous family background and faulty emotional training when young are predisposing causes. The emotional situations may be mental, strain, stress, fear, worry, depression, traumatism, masturbation, and prolonged sickness. Types may include: Anxiety hysteria.
  • Conversion hysteria.
  • Dissociative hysteria.
  • Epidemic hysteria.
  • Mass hysteria
Symptoms: Symptoms may include: Weakness.
  • Palpitations.
  • No willpower.
  • Tendency towards emotional instability.
  • Heaviness in the limbs.
  • Severe cramps.
  • Strong feeling of ascending abdominal constriction.
  • Continual sighing.
  • Difficulty in breathing.
  • Constriction in the chest.
  • Swelling of the neck.
  • Feeling of suffocation.
  • Headache.
  • Clenched teeth.
  • Generalized and voluntary tensing of muscles of locomotion.
  • Loss of consciousness.
  • Violent and tumultuous heartbeats.
Diagnosis: According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV), individuals with histrionic personality possess at least five of the following symptoms or personality features: A need to be the center of attention.
  • Inappropriate, sexually seductive, or provocative behavior while interacting with others.
  • Rapidly changing emotions and superficial expression of emotions.
  • Vague and impressionistic speech (gives opinions without any supporting details).
  • Easily influenced by others.
  • Believes relationships are more intimate than they are.
Treatment: For people with hysterical disorders, a supportive healthcare environment is critical. Regular appointments with a physician who acknowledges the patient's physical discomfort are important. Psychotherapy may be attempted to help the patient gain insight into the cause of their distress. Use of behavioral therapy can help to avoid re-enforcing symptoms. Other Treatment Options: The patient should be taught self-control and educated in the right habits of thinking. His/her mind must be drawn away from himself/herself by some means. Proper sex education should be provided and a married patient should be taught to enjoy a normal sexual relationship. Exercise and outdoor games: Exercise and outdoor games are also important. They take the mind away from self and induce cheerfulness. Yoga: Yogasanas which are useful in hysteria are bhujangasana, shalabhasana, matsyasana, dhanurasana, halasana, paschimottanasana, yogamudra, and shavasana. Weak patients, who are not able to do much active exercise, may be given a massage three or four times a week. NOTE: The above information is educational purpose. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.


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