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January 16, 1981

Multiple Sclerosis and Hysteria

Author Affiliations


JAMA. 1981;245(3):233. doi:10.1001/jama.1981.03310280013005

To the Editor.—  In their article on "Multiple Sclerosis [MS] and Hysteria: Lessons Learned From Their Association," Caplan and Nadelson (1980;243:2418) note a modicum of confusion with something I wrote on the subject in 1965.1I liked the speculation of Langworthy2 that the hysteria and MS in those patients with whom he worked might represent branches off of the same trunk. I saw nothing to be gained in the discussion of organic vs functional dichotomy, which at the time was absorbing so much energy, time, and talent to the detriment of the patient. This is in accord with the dynamic approach advocated by Caplan and Nadelson.As then, and in considering the present state of the art, I see nothing to be gained in separating clinically what Wilson3 termed the predisseminated type of MS from conversion hysteria, where the symptoms are compatible in the patient. There is