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January 14, 1905


JAMA. 1905;XLIV(2):133. doi:10.1001/jama.1905.02500290053009

We are so accustomed to looking on hysteria as a disease attended only with symptoms of functional derangement that we do not always fully appreciate its true seriousness and occasional gravity. While it is now generally admitted to be a distinct morbid entity, its symptomatology is almost uncircumscribed, and its clinical manifestations are by some still thought to be not wholly free from intentional deception. Unfortunately, we are as yet unable to demonstrate the changes, cellular and chemical, that underly the hysterical disturbance, so that much, no doubt, is thus classified that has other origin. Contrariwise the error is not uncommonly made of confounding the symptoms of hysteria and those of organic disease. The hysterical symptom-complex in its protean variation is not rarely long continued, but fortunately the disease does not often terminate fatally. A remarkable case of this character, however, was recently reported by Dr. N. Pende1 before