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February 10, 1951

The Diagnosis of Hysteria

JAMA. 1951;145(6):446. doi:10.1001/jama.1951.02920240082041

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This is a short treatise on the dynamic psychological components in hysteria based on Freudian concepts. The author presents a series of cases from his extensive practice in England and India during the period of the recent war, 1942-1946. The author emphasizes that war-induced hysteria tends to be more closely tied in with the present conflictual situations in which the conflict lies close to the surface of consciousness, whereas hysteria in peacetime tends to involve deeper layers of the unconscious and relates to conflictual situations of the first years of life. Comment on the history of the word "hysteria" itself reflects the early explanations of the Greeks, who considered hysteria a wandering of the uterus, the Middle Ages concept that hysteria represented the work or manifestations of evil spirits or of the devil within and early 19th century concepts that hysteria was the result of diseased areas of the nervous

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