Hysteria syndrome: causes, ways to prevent

Hysteria syndrome, also known as hysterical syndrome, is characterized by a state of uncontrollable screaming, agitation, screaming and struggling of the patient. These states tend to be sudden, even contagious, and collective. Stress in the mind, resentment, emotional sensitivity are thought to be among the factors related to this disease.

What is hysteria syndrome?

Hysteria syndrome is a type of dissociative disorder is a state of mind characterized by agitation, exaggeration, screaming, and confusion that appear suddenly. This strange disease tends to be more common in women, especially in the 18-25 year old group. These symptoms may appear for only a short period of time, but reappear many times, greatly affecting quality of life.

In particular, hysteria syndrome also has many other names such as hysteria syndrome, icteriasis, women hysteria, also known with two very special names, “uterine disease” or “lack of male disease”. Because in the past, this disease mostly only occurred in young women, especially in places with a large number of women, and also tended to spread and take place in groups, so many people, when not yet universalized, often had symptoms. misinformed about this disease.

Currently, hysterical syndrome has been used by the World Health Organization with the term “dissociative disorder” to be classified in the 10th International List of Diseases (ICD-10F) to replace the phrase “hysteria”. “. However, since the term hysteria is still more popular in some places even though the meanings associated with the phrase have been completely disproved.

For example, during the war, the disease often appeared in places where a large number of young female volunteers were stationed. Or now, the disease often appears in high schools and junior high schools. There are cases after a female student screamed and fainted, dozens of other students had similar symptoms, fainting like a domino effect.

Some information about the history of discovery, research, and highlights of collective hysteria events are as follows:

  • In ancient texts about 2000 BC there is information about hysteria
  • In the Middle Ages,  in Christian monasteries in France, a few nuns began to make strange sounds like a cat meowing, which then spread throughout the monastery. The government was forced to send soldiers to control by beating the nuns with whips until they promised to stop the scary sounds.
  • In   Aachen (Germany) on June 24, 1374, an outbreak of “dance epidemic” caused thousands of people to dance wildly in the middle of the street for tens of hours, from day to day, causing many people to die from exhaustion. and stroke. This dance epidemic also appeared in Italy, Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland.
  • The event of mass hysteria that occurred in Salem, Massachusetts, USA, in 1692 is considered one of the most haunting cases of Hysteria because suddenly dozens of young girls without illness became screaming in panic, convulsing , facial distortion that cannot be controlled.
  • On October 4, 2004, at Nguyen Hien High School (Hoa Cuong ward, Hai Chau district, Da Nang city) there was also a case of collective hysteria when a series of students fainted and fainted. fully moving..
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Hysteria syndrome symptoms

Hysteria syndrome symptoms are extremely variable, tending to come on suddenly and uncontrollably. Common features of dissociative disorders are hyperemotional states (due to impaired cortex) and increased suggestibility (due to focus on cortical stimuli). These states can last as little as 15 to 20 minutes but can last for hours or days if left unchecked.

Hysteria syndrome

Hysteria tends to be collective, in which people tend to scream, agitate, and faint uncontrollably.

In fact, the symptoms of this disease are very similar to epilepsy, so it is easy to confuse them. On the other hand, the patient’s reaction to irritation or pain is not due to them pretending, but to unconscious emotions. The characteristic that distinguishes hysteria from epilepsy is that hysteria can spread emotions to those around them, creating a mass effect.

Physical and neurological symptoms

The physical and neurological symptoms are expressed in a clear, powerful way, the patient seems to have a tremendous power that would be difficult for a single person to control. Such as

  • Hysteria: Convulsions, tremors and fainting, flailing limbs, bending, screaming, even behaviors such as pulling hair, tearing clothes, hitting themselves… Especially hysteria has tends to appear only when there are people around, rarely occurs when sleeping, the attack can last from 15 minutes to 1 hour or longer.
  • Paralysis of limbs: unlike normal paralysis due to external causes. Paralysis due to Hysteria often causes hemiplegia, limited paralysis of the legs and arms, such as the patient dragging one leg or falling into a state of being unable to stand up. However, if examined, it will not affect the cranial nerves or damage the neural pyramidal bundle, no circular muscle disorder.
  • Pronunciation disorders: with signs such as no speech, stuttering, difficulty speaking, language disorders…but when checked, the vocal cords, pharynx, throat, and tongue are still functioning completely normally.
  • Sensory disorders: blindness, deafness, loss of taste, smell .. hysteria syndrome can cause sudden blindness, however, if a professional examination is performed, the fundus will still be seen normally, the pupils of the eyes still have reflexes. Sensitivity to light is still good and flexible in motion. Similarly, sudden deafness in a patient with hysteria but on examination still shows sensitivity to noise.
  • Sensory disturbances: there is a tendency to lose or decrease pain sensation or increase pain sensation, however most patients do not bring up this issue unless examined and asked. The site of this loss of sensation is usually not in the distribution area of the roots and sensory nerves, even the area of loss of sensation is located right next to the area of ​​sensation, or can move on its own very quickly. complex. In addition, patients may also experience increased pain sensation such as stomach pain, appendicitis, stomach pain, muscle pain or heart attack..
  • Visceral vegetative disorders: appear in episodes, manifested as chills, tremors, abdominal cramps, pain in the heart region, feeling of difficulty breathing or swallowing., vomiting due to pyloric spasm. The patient also feels as if something is rolling from the abdomen to the throat, which is extremely uncomfortable.

Mental symptoms

The mental manifestations of hysteria are also extremely diverse, often associated with psychiatric disorders such as dissociative amnesia, running away, emotional disturbances, and thought disturbances. Specifically

  • Episodes of dissociative amnesia: appear after episodes of hysteria, causing the patient not to remember previous behaviors, becoming vague and empty. Amnesia can vary from day to day according to different exposures.
  • Dissociative runaway: the patient may have an episode of running away from home, leaving the office with a purpose, but personal activities or relationships with people around are completely preserved. Escaping to make personal trips with a known destination (rather than traveling aimlessly) can last for days or for long periods of time.
  • Dissociative affective disorder: people with hysteria syndrome often have unstable emotions, unpredictable crying and laughing, intense screaming, excessive sensitivity to external stimuli, and are very contagious to others’ emotions. In addition, these people also tend to use excessively low-pitched words to tell stories or describe their feelings.
  • Dissociative thinking disorder: with a tendency to dramatize things, self-praise, specific thinking, extremes, use of emotional tone, shallowness or lack of logic. They often draw attention to themselves by provocative, ostentatious actions, making up stories about themselves, drawing attention to others about themselves, having rich fantasies, showing off. accompanied by a dramatic style.
  • Dissociative language disorder: mute, unable to speak or must use written language to express their feelings. Some people with hysteria may also experience dissociative stuttering.

Causes of hysteria syndrome

Hysteria syndrome is perhaps the most seriously “misunderstood” disease. Because the disease mainly occurs in young women or in densely populated areas, it was formerly known as “the disease of male deficiency”. The term   “hysteria” is also named after the Greek word, which means “womb” or “womb”. Even in the mid-19th century, hysteria was thought to be associated with sexual dysfunction.

In fact, in ancient times, there was a belief that a woman’s uterus could “roam” through the body, even moving to other internal organs. In the 2000 BC, the philosopher Plato’s argument that a woman’s uterus “suffers” if it can’t “get” pregnant and become a mother, so they “wander” throughout the body like that.

Hysteria syndrome

After years of erroneous assessments, hysteria has been shown to be associated with psychological stress, stress, and negativity.

Numerous theories have been put forward for the cause of this disease such as demon possession, witch’s curse, and mind control.. These questions have been raised since ancient times by this time. Therefore, science has not yet developed, so with abnormal symptoms of agitation, talking, dancing and shouting like that, people tend to blame the spiritual factor.

It was not until the end of the century that Freud’s theory was born, in which scientists believed that hysteria syndrome was formed by problems that created disorders from psychological trauma and unconscious defense mechanisms. of the body to protect itself from these injuries. Hysteria a state of mind when the cerebral cortex is weakened and the person himself cannot bear it. Suggestions formed by emotions of stress and fear are also the factors that trigger a collective chain reaction.

Today, scientists also agree that Hysteria etiology arises in patients with weak nerves, inflexibility, lack of balance. This can be influenced by the living environment, the way of education. There are very few cases of patients with abnormalities in the brain that are mainly related to environmental stressors.

The fact has proven that these statements of scientists are completely correct because most of the patients with Hysteria are those who have suffered from psychological trauma or are living in stressful situations for a long time, with no time off. Rest, lack of sleep or people with pessimism, great resentment cannot be relieved. Therefore, the percentage of students who are in a stressful period, the final exam is often easy to fall into this state.

The reason the disease tends to occur more in women is that women, especially young people, often have extremely sensitive and weak psychology, do not know how to cope with pressure, so negative emotions. easily repressed when they feel they can’t take it anymore will develop hysteria syndrome.

In fact, hysteria syndrome has not been able to fully exploit all the mysteries of the causes of the disease, especially about why the disease tends to spread in such a large area. However, it is certain that the panic disorder comes from psychological problems and is influenced by negative external things.

Guidelines for the treatment of hysteria syndrome

In order to accurately determine the disease, the doctor will assign the patient to perform some tests to rule out causes such as epilepsy, hypocalcemia, hypoglycemia, etc. In fact, there are still many cases of medical examination. Hospitals are small and do not have enough expertise, leading to confusion among these diseases, making treatment wrong and making symptoms more likely to recur.

Ancient Remedies

The influence of the idea that hysteria is a lack of male fertility, caused by the uterus “running around” caused people in ancient times to have many strange cures. Some opinions say that a woman must have sex, get married, have to give birth to a baby to fix the uterus, so this symptom will go away.

Hysteria syndrome

Pelvic massage for patients who are said to be “lack of breath”

However, the new “pelvic massage” therapy was the method used throughout the 1800s, although quite strange and absurd, it was applied extremely seriously, even present. in the monographs on the medical psychology of the time without any objection. The most important point of this therapy is that the operator must be male doctors.

Accordingly, to perform the “pelvic massage” therapy, the doctor will use his hands to stimulate the clitoris in order to bring the uterus back to its original position. In the description, the patients will fall into a state of “hysterical paroxysm” (roughly translated: paroxysmal hysteria) with manifestations such as flushing of the face, heat of the body, light-headedness like being in a seizure. orgasm during intercourse. This is the state that the treatment has been “successful”.

There are times when doctors have to work to the point of “fatigue and spasticity” in both hands due to the large number of patients, especially at a time when it is widely believed that women are profane, obscene, pornographic. Drowsiness is a symptom of hysteria syndrome. This method remained until the mid-nineteenth century when “hydrotherapy” was born.

In order to “protect” the hands of male doctors, “Hydrotherapy” or water therapy has appeared in France. The mechanism of this method is extremely simple, people will install faucets with suitable capacity to spray on the thighs and external genitals of women. This method can stimulate the state  “hysterical paroxysm” in just 4 minutes. The equipment is installed in bathrooms or spas so that patients can come and use it themselves.

The vibrating massager is also a device researched by George Taylor in the late 19th century for patients who are “short of breath” and named “Manipulator”. Accordingly, people will make a cushion table with a hole in the middle, in which a ball with vibration function will be placed. The patient will sit on this table to let the ball massage the thighs, pelvis and external genitals until a state of “hysterical paroxysm” is achieved.

Hysteria syndrome

Vibrators were extremely loved by ladies in the Middle Ages

The design of George Taylor  is said to be a more complete version of the machine made by Dr. Mortimer Granville in 1880 but was battery-powered. Dr. George Taylor even patented it and was extremely popular with wealthy women, buying ready-made to take home to prevent hysteria episodes. In addition, this special machine is also used for people suffering from constipation, arthritis, muscle fatigue.

In fact, at a time when these devices were not yet available, people with hysteria syndrome were often forced to be admitted to a mental hospital and doctors would force the patient to have sex and become pregnant. Using herbal oils to stimulate the vagina to “anchor” the uterus in position is also a measure to be applied. More seriously, many people are even forced to remove the uterus for no reason to prevent this organ from “running around”.

Fortunately with the advent of S. Freud’s theory, these methods have all been abandoned. However, there are still many people who think that hysteria syndrome is “lack of manhood” and tease patients, making them even more stressed and stressed.

Modern treatment methods

Hysteria syndrome stems from problems in the heart root, so eliminating these causes is the main direction of treatment. Most patients are applied psychological measures to relieve the spirit, in addition, using drugs and a number of other support measures also bring many good effects to patients to relieve the secret.

In cases of convulsions brought to the emergency room, the doctor may order calcium or potassium infusion to stop the convulsion. Fortunately in most patients, the main hysteria is in a state of convulsions that hardly cause tongue biting, but still need to get the patient to the hospital as soon as possible.

Hysteria syndrome

Suggestive hypnosis is the main therapy aimed at patients with hysteria

Patients are often asked to take time to relax, rest, remove all stress. Therapists often apply methods such as suggestive therapy or hypnosis to relieve the patient’s psychology. Suggestive therapy in hypnotic sleep is also chosen by many therapists to partially inhibit the cerebral cortex, that is, the patient is falling into a sleep state but there is still the subconscious in the brain, through which the Suggestions come to wake up, d wake up the patient’s awareness.

The therapist is also the person who teaches the patient how to control emotions, release negativity, and cope with stress. mocking the patient, however, should not be too indulgent or worried, controlling the client excessively.

A number of other methods can also be applied to people with hysteria syndrome such as acupuncture, acupressure, electro-acupuncture, massage or movement-oriented therapies to relax the mind. Using drugs such as tranquilizers, antidepressants also brings patients many benefits, but it is necessary to ensure that they are prescribed by a doctor, not to use them on their own.

The doctor will also ask each patient to maintain a scientific lifestyle, see a therapist, use a healthy diet with lots of milk and cereals to prevent the risk of the disease coming back. Patients who respond well to psychotherapy often recover quite quickly, their cognitive ability and behavior adjustment are also better, so they can stay away from stress in the future.

Direction to prevent and prevent hysteria syndrome

As mentioned, hysteria syndrome comes from psychological factors, stress, trauma.. Therefore, building a healthy, positive, optimistic, soothing and stress-removing lifestyle is key. The best way to prevent dissociative disorder and many other dangerous psycho-psychiatric problems.

Hysteria syndrome

Keeping the mind relaxed and relaxed will help prevent the risk of hysteria effectively

Specifically, some of the top measures to help prevent hysteria syndrome are as follows:

  • Balance work and study time reasonably, always take time for your mind to rest
  • Make sure to get enough sleep every day because sleep deprivation is a leading cause of stress
  • Stay away from alcohol, alcoholic beverages, tobacco, stimulants
  • Increasing a diet rich in milk and healthy foods such as green vegetables and fruits will bring many benefits to each person, especially the patient with hysteria during the recovery process.
  • Spending time practicing sports every day, in addition to meditation and yoga also often bring a lot of good effects to health and mind.
  • Relieve stress through measures such as talking, writing, listening to music, exercising…
  • Learn to think positively, always look at problems in an optimistic way, look forward to the future
  • Every parent also needs to guide their children to be independent, to practice strong character, not to be dependent, not to succumb to difficulties or to endure hardships.
  • The school also needs to step up the work of ideological work, health education propaganda, dissemination of methods to improve mental health so that each student can better understand and apply.

Hysteria syndrome still has a lot of unsolved mysteries that make cases of mass hysteria still occur somewhere, especially in high-pressure environments. Each person needs to build for themselves a healthy lifestyle, be optimistic, love themselves, stay away from negativity to prevent this disease as well as many other related psychological – mental problems.

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