Summary: Historical term for a chronic, but fluctuating, disorder beginning in early life and characterized by recurrent and multiple somatic complaints not apparently due to physical illness. This diagnosis is not used in contemporary practice.

Top Publications

  1. Aragona M, Tarsitani L, De Nitto S, Inghilleri M. DSM-IV-TR "pain disorder associated with psychological factors" as a nonhysterical form of somatization. Pain Res Manag. 2008;13:13-8 pubmed
    Elevated Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) scores on the hysteria (Hy) scale are reported in several forms of pain...
  2. Stone J, Smyth R, Carson A, Lewis S, Prescott R, Warlow C, et al. Systematic review of misdiagnosis of conversion symptoms and "hysteria". BMJ. 2005;331:989 pubmed
    ..This decline is probably due to improvements in study quality rather than improved diagnostic accuracy arising from the introduction of computed tomography of the brain. ..
  3. O DONNELL J. Polar hysteria: an expression of hypervitaminosis A. Am J Ther. 2004;11:507-16 pubmed
  4. Bell V, Oakley D, Halligan P, Deeley Q. Dissociation in hysteria and hypnosis: evidence from cognitive neuroscience. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2011;82:332-9 pubmed publisher
    ..radical hypothesis that similar brain processes were responsible for the unexplained neurological symptoms of 'hysteria', now typically diagnosed as 'conversion disorder' or 'dissociative (conversion) disorder', and the temporary ..
  5. Balaratnasingam S, Janca A. Mass hysteria revisited. Curr Opin Psychiatry. 2006;19:171-4 pubmed
    ..Various terms are nowadays used to denote mass hysteria, such as 'mass psychogenic illness' and 'mass sociogenic illness'...
  6. Lee Y, Tsai S. The mirror neuron system may play a role in the pathogenesis of mass hysteria. Med Hypotheses. 2010;74:244-5 pubmed publisher
    Mass hysteria or collective hysteria usually begins when an individual shows a hysteric manifestation in front of others in the same group who later contagiously acquire the same symptoms...
  7. Aberer E. [Neuroborreliosis or borrelia hysteria. This case becomes a nightmare!]. MMW Fortschr Med. 2006;148:8 pubmed
  8. Stone J, Hewett R, Carson A, Warlow C, Sharpe M. The 'disappearance' of hysteria: historical mystery or illusion?. J R Soc Med. 2008;101:12-8 pubmed publisher
  9. Stone J, Warlow C, Carson A, Sharpe M. Eliot Slater's myth of the non-existence of hysteria. J R Soc Med. 2005;98:547-8 pubmed

More Information


  1. Bartholomew R. "Mystery illness" at Melbourne Airport: toxic poisoning or mass hysteria?. Med J Aust. 2005;183:564-6 pubmed
    ..The issue of diagnosing collective psychogenic illness will continue to be a major public health challenge, exacerbated by widespread anxieties over the threat of chemical and biological weapons and fears of contamination. ..
  2. Morris J, Donohoe M. The history of hysteria. Pharos Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Med Soc. 2004;67:40-3 pubmed
  3. Nakamura Y, Doi R, Kohno Y, Shimono D, Kuwamura N, Inoue K, et al. High-dose calcium stimulation test in a case of insulinoma masquerading as hysteria. Endocrine. 2002;19:127-30 pubmed
    ..Here we report a case of insulinoma masquerading as hysteria, whose final diagnosis could be made using high-dose calcium stimulation test...
  4. Mattoo S, Gupta N, Lobana A, Bedi B. Mass family hysteria: a report from India. Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2002;56:643-6 pubmed
    The case of a 31-member family displaying mass hysteria in up to 10 members at one time is reported. The mass hysteria emerged in the context of the strong religious and cultural beliefs held by this closely knit family...
  5. Edwards M, Adams R, Brown H, Pareés I, Friston K. A Bayesian account of 'hysteria'. Brain. 2012;135:3495-512 pubmed publisher
  6. Bogousslavsky J, Walusinski O, Veyrunes D. Crime, hysteria and belle époque hypnotism: the path traced by Jean-Martin Charcot and Georges Gilles de la Tourette. Eur Neurol. 2009;62:193-9 pubmed publisher
    b>Hysteria and hypnotism became a favorite topic of studies in the fin de siècle neurology that emerged from the school organized at La Salpêtrière by Jean-Martin Charcot, where he had arrived in 1861...
  7. Loughran T. Hysteria and neurasthenia in pre-1914 British medical discourse and in histories of shell-shock. Hist Psychiatry. 2008;19:25-46 pubmed
    Histories of shell-shock have argued that the diagnosis was subdivided into the categories hysteria and neurasthenia, and that the differential distribution and treatment of these diagnoses was shaped by class and gender expectations...
  8. Jain A, Verma K, Solanki R, Sidana A. Is hysteria still prevailing? A retrospective study of sociodemographic and clinical characteristics. Indian J Med Sci. 2000;54:395-7 pubmed
    ..Fits of unconsciousness and aphonia were the commonest presentation in female and male patients respectively. Duration of stay was 2-3 days and most of the patient responded well to different treatment modalities. ..
  9. Stone J, Smyth R, Carson A, Warlow C, Sharpe M. La belle indifférence in conversion symptoms and hysteria: systematic review. Br J Psychiatry. 2006;188:204-9 pubmed
    ..It is often regarded as typical of conversion symptoms/hysteria. To determine the frequency of la belle indifférence in studies of patients with conversion symptoms/hysteria ..
  10. Ahbel Rappe K. "After a long pause": how to read Dora as history. J Am Psychoanal Assoc. 2009;57:595-629 pubmed publisher
    Freud's "Fragment of an Analysis of a Case of Hysteria" (1905a,b) is well recognized for making psychoanalytic history...
  11. Fortuyn H, Mulders P, Renier W, Buitelaar J, Overeem S. Narcolepsy and psychiatry: an evolving association of increasing interest. Sleep Med. 2011;12:714-9 pubmed publisher
    ..These symptoms, such as anxiety and eating disorders, can be highly debilitating and warrant clinical attention. Here, we describe the role of psychiatry in the history of narcolepsy, showing their evolving association. ..
  12. Petitjean F. [Neurosis]. Rev Prat. 2003;53:2183-9 pubmed
  13. Gaylor D. Mad cow hysteria. Risk Anal. 2004;24:513 pubmed
  14. Langlois C. [Photography as evidence, between medicine and religion]. Hist Sci Med. 1994;28:325-36 pubmed
    ..So we are led to suggest meaningful changes in the links between medicine and religion, expressed by the language of women's bodies. ..
  15. Foley J, Garcia J, Harris K, Golden C, Todd M. Can the MMPI-2 discriminate between mild-moderate TBI and other neurologic and psychiatric populations?. Int J Neurosci. 2006;116:1377-89 pubmed
    ..Psychiatric group means were significantly higher than AD group means for scales Hypochondriasis, Depression, and Hysteria at an alpha of .01...
  16. Freeman T. Psychoanalytical aspects of morbid jealousy in women. Br J Psychiatry. 1990;156:68-72 pubmed
    ..This material can provide an insight into the unconscious determinants of the contents of delusions of jealousy. ..
  17. Garcia Albea E. [Migraine associated with conversion symptoms (Babinski's migraine): evaluation of a series of 43 cases]. Neurologia. 2012;27:125-35 pubmed publisher
    ..Diagnosis of conversion disorder (hysteria) was grounded in the criteria set forth in the DSM-IV...
  18. Iznak A, Nikishova M. [Electrophysiological correlates of psychogenic disorders]. Fiziol Cheloveka. 2007;33:137-9 pubmed
  19. Bondevik H. [La donna é mobile--the hysteria diagnosis in Norway in the 19th century]. Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 2007;127:3254-8 pubmed
    The last half of the 19 th century has been described as "the golden age of hysteria"...
  20. Gregoric Kumperscak H, Krgovic D, Vokac N. Specific behavioural phenotype and secondary cognitive decline as a result of an 8.6 Mb deletion of 2q32.2q33.1. J Int Med Res. 2016;44:395-402 pubmed publisher
    ..Our patient is also, to our knowledge, the only patient with 2q32q33 microdeletion syndrome with secondary cognitive decline. ..
  21. Pilowsky I. Low back pain and illness behavior (inappropriate, maladaptive, or abnormal). Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 1995;20:1522-4 pubmed
    Patients with low back pain without a sufficient physical cause attract labels such as "hysteria" and "hypochondriasis," often on the basis of exclusion...
  22. Szabo J. Seeing is believing? The form and substance of French medical debates over Lourdes. Bull Hist Med. 2002;76:199-230 pubmed
  23. Gullestad S. Who is 'who' in dissociation?: A plea for psychodynamics in a time of trauma. Int J Psychoanal. 2005;86:639-56 pubmed
    ..She argues that dissociation in the form of multiple personalities may imply an active, strategic agent. ..
  24. Minder B. A document. Jung to Freud 1905: a report on Sabina Spielrein. J Anal Psychol. 2001;46:67-72 pubmed
    ..It was addressed to Freud and handed over to Sabina Spielrein's mother who intended to remove her daughter from Jung with whom the girl had fallen in love. However, the letter was never passed on to Freud. ..
  25. Brown E. Pierre Janet and Félida Artificielle: multiple personality in a nineteenth-century guise. J Hist Behav Sci. 2003;39:279-88 pubmed
    ..Pierre Janet's detailed description of his discovery, made during the 1880s, that he could cure hysteria by creating a healthy second personality offers a close look at a form of multiple personalities very different ..
  26. Ryvlin P, Hirsch E. [Fits, faints and blackouts in the adult]. Rev Prat. 2003;53:2277-84 pubmed
  27. Woolf A. Witchcraft or mycotoxin? The Salem witch trials. J Toxicol Clin Toxicol. 2000;38:457-60 pubmed
    ..historians looking for the complex social, political, and psychological determinants behind the community-wide hysteria that led to a travesty of justice and the deaths of 20 innocent Puritans...
  28. Schönfeldt Lecuona C, Connemann B, Hose A, Spitzer M, Walter H. [Conversion disorders. From neurobiology to treatment]. Nervenarzt. 2004;75:619-27 pubmed
    ..quot; Conversion disorders (DSM) or dissociative disorders (ICD) are historically related to the concept of hysteria. Like psychoanalytical theories, the DSM and ICD refer to a psychological conflict preceding the onset of ..
  29. Roach E, Langley R. Episodic neurological dysfunction due to mass hysteria. Arch Neurol. 2004;61:1269-72 pubmed
    ..that 4 students subsequently had pseudoseizures confirmed by video-electroencephalography strongly suggest mass hysteria. Seven students were treated with antiepileptic medications, and most underwent multiple diagnostic studies...
  30. Shorter E. Hysteria and catatonia as motor disorders in historical context. Hist Psychiatry. 2006;17:461-8 pubmed
    It is difficult to imagine motor symptoms in psychiatry as different as hysteria and catatonia...
  31. Bühler K, Heim G. Etiology, pathogenesis, and therapy according to Pierre Janet concerning conversion disorders and dissociative disorders. Am J Psychother. 2011;65:281-309 pubmed
    ..In the first part of this paper, Janet's conception of hysteria is discussed and his place in French psychiatry described...
  32. Bowman E. Why conversion seizures should be classified as a dissociative disorder. Psychiatr Clin North Am. 2006;29:185-211, x pubmed
  33. Talarowska M, Zboralski K, Chamielec M, Gałecki P. The MMPI-2 neurotic triad subscales and depression levels after pharmacological treatment in patients with depressive disorders - clinical study. Psychiatr Danub. 2011;23:347-54 pubmed
    ..possible associations between scores of the neurotic triad in the MMPI-2 test (hypochondria - Hs, depression - D, hysteria - Hy), evaluated at initial hospitalization period with remission degree assessed by the Hamilton Depression ..
  34. Peckl P. ["The patient before was always healthy" -- the "war trembler" in the mirror of military hospital patient records of German soldiers during First World War]. Praxis (Bern 1994). 2007;96:2075-9 pubmed
  35. Fisher C. The reach of neurology. Arch Neurol. 2003;60:173-7 pubmed
    ..be well suited to extend their field of interest to the more complex disorders of human behavior, including hysteria, delirium, ill-defined pain syndromes, unexplained fatigue, disorders of thought, atypical depression, and ..
  36. Betts T, Dutton N, Yarrow H. Epilepsy and the ovary (cutting out the hysteria). Seizure. 2001;10:220-8 pubmed
    ..Lamotrigine and carbamazepine seem to prevent the development of the syndrome. ..
  37. Schiller F. Yawning?. J Hist Neurosci. 2002;11:392-401 pubmed
    ..with the encephalitis lethargica in the 1920s, with 'spasmodic yawning,' with epilepsy, not to speak of hysteria. As to boredom or its stimulus, a 40-page dissertation survives from the court of Frederick the Great of the 18th ..
  38. Okamoto S, Iwata K, Oonishi Y, Kato S. [Two adolescent cases of pseudoseizure with mental retardation]. Seishin Shinkeigaku Zasshi. 2009;111:137-46 pubmed
    ..of complicated pseudoseizure, whose diagnosis and treatment were based on Kretschmer's concept of "primitive hysteria"...
  39. Goldstein B. Environmental risks and public health. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2001;933:112-8 pubmed
    ..My approach will be to touch on those issues related to the nervous system and to unexplained symptoms in keeping with the subject of the conference, as well as to discuss some of the broader issues surrounding environmental health. ..
  40. Kanaan R, Wessely S. The origins of factitious disorder. Hist Human Sci. 2010;23:68-85 pubmed
    ..looks at some of the pressures on doctors that may have created the diagnostic need for a disorder between hysteria and malingering...
  41. Diukova G, Titiova E. [Quantitative indices of gait in patients with psychogenic and organic dysbasia]. Zh Nevrol Psikhiatr Im S S Korsakova. 2007;107:4-9 pubmed
    The study aimed at comparison of quantitative indices of gait in patients with hysteria and organic dysbasia...
  42. Bonomi C. The relevance of castration and circumcision to the origins of psychoanalysis: 1. The medical context. Int J Psychoanal. 2009;90:551-80 pubmed publisher
    ..The author argues that the opposition to this medical practice affected the conception of hysteria, promoting a distinction between sexuality and the genital organs, and the emergence of an enlarged notion of ..
  43. Mkize D, Ndabeni R. Mass hysteria with pseudoseizures at a South African high school. S Afr Med J. 2002;92:697-9 pubmed
  44. Hobaika A, Cançado C, Dettogni P, Guedes V. Hysterical paraplegia simulating acute transverse myelitis after general anesthesia. Acta Anaesthesiol Scand. 2008;52:449-50 pubmed publisher
  45. Stone J, Sharpe M. Neurology, psychiatry, and neuroscience. Am J Psychiatry. 2003;160:1013 pubmed
  46. Tanaka Y, Albert M, Miyazaki M, Fujita K. Pseudohysterical hemiparesis. J Nerv Ment Dis. 2007;195:874-6 pubmed
    ..In all 4 cases improvement followed neurologic treatment. We suspect that reduced blood flow in frontal regions may have produced the neurologic deficits. We call these conditions "pseudohysterical hemiparesis." ..
  47. Pearce J. Silas Weir Mitchell and the "rest cure". J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2004;75:381 pubmed
  48. Merskey H. Pain disorder, hysteria or somatization?. Pain Res Manag. 2004;9:67-71 pubmed
  49. Talley C. The emergence of multiple sclerosis, 1870-1950: a puzzle of historical epidemiology. Perspect Biol Med. 2005;48:383-95 pubmed
    ..Significant numbers of patients with MS had been misdiagnosed with other diseases such as hysteria and neurosyphilis; over time, they were increasingly diagnosed correctly.
  50. Porath E. [From reflex arc to psychic apparatus: neurology and psychoanalysis around 1900]. Ber Wiss. 2009;32:53-69 pubmed
    ..These cases of hysteria ask riddles to the established medical discourse and practice...
  51. Cohen D. The patient's revenge. New Sci. 2002;173:47 pubmed
  52. Kharabsheh S, Al Otoum H, Clements J, Abbas A, Khuri Bulos N, Belbesi A, et al. Mass psychogenic illness following tetanus-diphtheria toxoid vaccination in Jordan. Bull World Health Organ. 2001;79:764-70 pubmed
    ..Indeed they may be unaware that such events have been recorded before. The lessons learned from this incident in Jordan may help other immunization programme managers to handle crisis situations elsewhere. ..
  53. Leemann B, Hazeghi C, Kramis S, Schnider A. [Functional weakness of movement]. Rev Med Suisse. 2011;7:408-11 pubmed
    ..The mechanisms of hysteria remain still dubious but various studies suggest that functional paresis is different from simulation by ..