Hysteria is No Longer Diagnosed

In the Victorian era, hysteria was a catch-all diagnosis for women in distress. The symptoms were vague (discontentment, weakness, outbursts of emotion, nerves) and the history sexist (Plato blamed the wanderings of an “unfruitful” uterus).

The treatment for hysteria? “Hysterical paroxysm,” also known as orgasm. Physicians would massage their patients’ genitals either manually or with a vibrator, a task they found tedious but surprisingly uncontroversial. More contentious was the practice of putting “hysterical” women on bed rest or demanding that they not work or socialize, a treatment that often worsened anxiety or depression.

According to a 2002 editorial in the journal Spinal Cord, the diagnosis of hysteria gradually petered out throughout the 20th century. By 1980, hysteria disappeared from the DSM in favor of newer diagnoses like conversion and dissociative disorders.

13 thoughts on “Hysteria is No Longer Diagnosed

  1. Hi everyone,Interesting post, although i’m more concerned in what will take place out of the google vs facebook social network war. I haven’t discovered much news on it recently, which likely suggests that it’s not really that far off, but i have a sense its going to mean many major changes to social networks. For me, i’d rather facebook came out of the battle still in the lead for the reason that google’s already large enough, plus they already hold a lot of data on absolutely everyone. I do not think that both will be able to exist though, either google’s social network will take over or totally crash. Just what does anyone else think?

  2. Hmm, there would seem to be some difficulties with the initial link, as it returns a 404 error

  3. I’m definitely not the type of person which makes a comment on websites but this is without a doubt an interesting story. I am still curious about what the point is but give me some time and I will probably realize.

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