Hysteria

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Hysteria is an illness which has now been divided into two groups of disorders, conversion disorders (more recently called Functional Neurological Symptom Disorders), and Dissociative Disorders; it is no longer a recognized name for an illness.[1] Hysteria was mostly diagnosed in women, and was at one point believed to be caused by a woman's womb wandering around the body.

Mass hysteria[edit | edit source]

The Royal Free Hospital outbreak of epidemic myalgic encephalomyelitis in 1955 was attributed to "mass hysteria" by psychiatrists McEvedy and Beard, who never examined any patients.[2]

Hysteria as psychosonatic symptoms[edit | edit source]

Prof. Michael Sharpe, a proponent of the biopsychosocial model of ME/CFS, claims hysteria is a psychosomatic condition consisting of medically unexplained symptoms:

Physicians often see symptoms without a definitive organic diagnosis as psychosomatic — a modern if less dramatic version of the 19th-century tendency to label neurological symptoms "hysteria," says Michael Sharpe, MD, a University of Oxford psychiatrist who studies the psychological aspects of medical illness.

Michael Sharpe

Notable studies[edit | edit source]

Articles, talks and interviews[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]


Learn more[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. World Health Organization. "ICD-10". World Health Organization. Retrieved Mar 6, 2019. 
  2. Compston, Nigel Dean (Nov 1, 1978). "An outbreak of encephalomyelitis in the Royal Free Hospital Group, London, in 1955". Postgraduate Medical Journal. 54 (637): 722–724. doi:10.1136/pgmj.54.637.722. ISSN 0032-5473. PMID 746018 – via BMJ. McEvedy and Beard’s conclusions (of mass hysteria) ignore the objective findings of the staff of the hospital of fever, lymphadenopathy, cranial nerve palsies and abnormal signs in the limbs...Objective evidence of brain stem and spinal cord involvement was observed. 
  3. Stone, Jon; Warlow, Charles; Carson, Alan; Sharpe, Michael (Dec 2005). "Eliot Slater's myth of the non-existence of hysteria". Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. 98 (12): 547–548. ISSN 0141-0768. PMC 1299341Freely accessible. PMID 16319432. 
  4. DeAngelis, Tori (2013). "When symptoms are a mystery". American Psychological Association. p. 66. Retrieved Mar 6, 2019. Physicians often see symptoms without a definitive organic diagnosis as psychosomatic — a modern if less dramatic version of the 19th-century tendency to label neurological symptoms "hysteria," says Michael Sharpe, MD, a University of Oxford psychiatrist who studies the psychological aspects of medical illness. 


The information provided at this site is not intended to diagnose or treat any illness.

From MEpedia, a crowd-sourced encyclopedia of ME and CFS science and history