August 1967

Hysteria and Related Mental Disorders: An Approach to Psychological Medicine.

Author Affiliations

By D. Wilfred Abse, MD, BSc (Wales), DPM (Lond), FAPA, FBPsS. Price, $9. Pp 279. The Williams & Wilkins Co., 428 E Preston St, Baltimore 2, Md, 1966.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1967;17(2):245. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1967.01730260117016

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Dr. Abse has provided us with a very complete account of hysteria, ranging from pure descriptions of symptoms, to the dynamics of the somatic conversion process; from tables of the incidence of various types of emotional disorders in the British Army of 1943 England and 1944 India, to speculations concerning the relationship of language development to hysterical disorders; from photographs demonstrating certain hysterical phenomena such as pseudocyesis in a man to metapsychological speculation on the nature of hysteria and hysteroid states. Surprisingly, while the relationship between hysteria and schizophrenia is discussed, the diagnostic category "hysterical psychosis" is not differentiated, and such cases would seem to be classed by Dr. Abse as borderline personalities of a hysteri-form type.

The author feels that the adequate study of hysteria "becomes a gateway to the whole field of psychological medicine." It is in this sense that the book is an

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