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Title: A study of the nervous and mental disease called hysteria, with special reference to symptomatology, pathology and treatment
Author: Wajid, M. Abdul
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1914
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The study of hysterical patients though full of difficulties and obscurities, is not altogether impossible to accomplish. hysterical patients are easily managed, they talk willingly, and they are not dangerous patients to deal with as many other mental. cases are. These patients readily lend them- selves to observation and are Always willing to be examined. The study of hysteria is very important as it is a singular malady, of Which everybody' speaks and which but few physicians know well. This disease is remarkable in its frequent , for it occurs in over 90 females out of 1000 females and only those who work hard escape it. Sydenham (1670) says "of "all common diseases, hysteria, unless I err, is the "commonest." It is very difficult to get statistics, for the physician is rarely consulted for the minor manifestations of the malady. it is an extremeiy common disease and frequently gives rise to mistakes in diagnosis. Thus, one can at once see that a thorough study of hysteria is important and desirable from many standpoints, - Medical., Practical, Scientific and Philosonhical. This singular mental disease has played a, very great and important part in the history of all religions and superstitions, and more so to this day it plays amost important part in most attractive moral questions. Great creeds have been spread by means of the emotion caused by astounding phenomena. which have always been due to and associated with hysterical people. These strange people (hysterics) raised such admiration and gave inspiration to the crowds by their natures and their mode of thought, their extraordinary oblivions or resemblances and their visions. They saw or heard what others could not see or hear. These people had odd convictions, and they felt and thought in another way than the bulk of mankind. They had an extraordinary r.e]icacy of certain senses and also had extraordinary inseneibilities, so that they could perceive, appreciate, and see what others could not, and they could hear the most dreadful tortures with indifference and even with delight. These people could do without food or sleep for weeks or months, and they could, se to speak, de without these natural needs. Such hysterical subjects excited religious admiration of people whether as prophets, witches, saints of the Middle Ages etc. They were admired and beatified or burnt as heretics and witches. They played a great part in the development of religious and moral dogmas, castes and creeds. All these phenomena, we now know, are the usual symptoms of hysteria. Is it not still true that if we want to throw some light on the mysteries of our destiny, to penetrate into unknown faculties of the human mind, we appeal not to an ordinary person in normal health but to a highly strung neuropathic, insensible to the things of the world but whose sensibilities are over excited and who is over enthusiastic in certain direction. And in our medical terminology is this not a typical hysterical subject? It was the fashion for a certain time to say that hysteria was a very rare disease for it had a bad reputation . and a kind of dishonour attached to it. It was thought that hysteria was frequent only among French women but this is nonsense. Indeed French physicians were the pioneers to thoroughly appreciate this disease before others did. All civilised nations are the same - they have the same mind and the same body and the same miseries and destinies - so that why should only the French nation suffer from hysteria? If hystericals were supposed to be less numerous in other countries it is because the physicians did not recognise them, and furthermore, even after diagnosis, they would not, give it the proper appellation as, we have already remarked, hysteria had a bad reputation and a kind of dishonour attached to it. Now the time has reached when medical men are more candid and their prejudices have vanished, and their pride and false patriotism have given way to scientific truth - so that we find hysterics] s al] over the world. We must always ire - member (i) That hysterical diseases are very bad1, characterised from their plysicfl. point of view, (ii) That hysterical diseases are only well characterised from their mental and moral point of view, (iii) That hysterical diseases are uncommonly similar to many kinds of surgical and medical affections for which they are so often mistaken. Physicians have often been misled by phantom tumours of the stomach, the ovaries and the uterus and spurious haemoptysis. Diseases supposed to be situated in the viscera may simulate anything. Paralysis, contractures and ana.esthesias due to hysteria may simulate many organic diseases and offer great difficulty in diagnosis. We ought to do homage to Charcot for having first called attention to these various hysterical phenomena which were too often wrongly, ignorantly, nay criminally dealt with by the surgeon or physician.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (M.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available