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October 15, 1982

Hysteria and Hysterical Conversion Reactions

JAMA. 1982;248(15):1832-1833. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03330150026009

To the Editor.—  While the recent article by Murphy entitled "The Clinical Management of Hysteria" (1982;247: 2559) was interesting and anecdotal, it contained several inaccuracies and unwarranted conclusions. The reader should be aware that Dr Murphy restricted his comments only to a small segment of the population of hysterical patients, and, therefore, his generalizations are not valid for the total population. Some of the controversy surrounding hysteria is in part because psychiatrists have been the only physicians consistently writing about this disorder. However, it must be recognized that they only see a small, restricted number of individuals who have the disorder. It is the neurologist, internist, family physician, and pediatrician who examine and treat the majority of patients. In fact, only a small number of these patients will ultimately be seen by the psychiatrist.If we are to understand this ancient disease clearly, then we must be precise in our