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December 1964

Hysterical Self-Mutilation of the TongueA Case Study

Author Affiliations

Assistant Professor of Psychiatry (in residence) (Dr. Slawson) and Resident in Psychiatry (Dr. Davidson).
Department of Psychiatry, The School of Medicine, University of California Center for the Health Sciences.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1964;11(6):581-588. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1964.01720300011002

Introduction  Hysteria remains an awkward concept despite its long and vivid history. While excluded from the most recent formal nomenclature25 the term finds daily use in modern psychiatry. But it means different things to different people. It may be a "distinct, recognizable syndrome," chronic in nature, characterized by vague complaints and multiple hospitalizations24 or a type of personality structure typified by intense feelings of inadequacy, a tendency to repress aggressive feelings, and a powerful capacity for dramatization.22 Hysteria may be but one manifestation of the phenomenon called conversion26 or the converse may be true.24It was through the study and treatment of this disorder that Freud7 discovered the principles and developed the practice of psychoanalysis. In dynamic psychiatry it has long been convenient to attempt understanding of an illness by seeing the symptoms as evidence of inadequate resolution with

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