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November 16, 1935


JAMA. 1935;105(20):1565-1567. doi:10.1001/jama.1935.02760460001001

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Hysteria, like many another concept of medicine, is a fusion of conditions that resemble but are not identical with one another. From the hysterical state that is a total alteration of personality to the case in which hysterical manifestations appear as a sort of foreign body in the personality is a wide gap, which extends from an innate or constitutional disorder to an easily curable condition.

The group of cases here presented have a physiology or, at any rate, a physiologic psychology which, once understood, opens the doors to a rapid cure. But unless their mechanism of disability is understood the patients may be markedly incapacitated and wander from physician to physician vainly seeking help. In other words, a superficial pathologic condition blocks the normal conduct reactions of the individual as thoroughly as the deeper lying disorder in those cases in which hysteria is really a psychosis demoralizes the individual.

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