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August 18, 1951


Author Affiliations

144-16 72nd Ave. Kew Gardens Hills, N. Y.

JAMA. 1951;146(16):1526. doi:10.1001/jama.1951.03670160068026

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To the Editor:  —In the article by Drs. Purtell, Robins, and Cohen (J.A.M.A.146:902 [July 7] 1951) the point is well made that "hysteria" can be suspected clinically with as much accuracy as "organic" disease. However, I feel that the name used, "hysteria," is archaic and had best be abandoned, for the following reasons: 1. It has no precise definition in either medical or lay usage. 2. It is not a disease entity, nor can it be called a syndrome. 3. Its derivation (uterus) is misleading. 4. Other terms in current usage give a better picture of the mechanisms involved.Psychiatric literature suffers from a confusion and profusion of terms; by its very antiquity, "hysteria" is a prime example of this.

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