Of the many causes of hysteria, epilepsy and neurasthenia one of the most frequent and important seems to me to be toxicity in some form. Yet it has heretofore received little attention as an etiologic factor in the induction of these affections, all of which may be regarded as diatheses of more or less profound nature. To the toxic element in these diseases I wish especially to draw your notice. The term toxicity should, however, be used in its broadest sense, namely, functional cellular perversion, causing or being caused by abnormal chemic reactions.
The ordinary forms of hysteria are certainly functional. I do not believe we shall ever discover pathologic alterations in the central nervous system, even of minute degree, upon which we may base those manifestations which we call hysteric. By this, however, we do not mean to assert that hysteria may not depend directly upon an organic lesion
STERNE AE. TOXICITY IN HYSTERIA, EPILEPSY AND NEURASTHENIA—RELATIONS AND TREATMENT. JAMA. 1896;XXVI(4):172–174. doi:10.1001/jama.1896.02430560024002f
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