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HYSTERIA

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Causes and Symptoms: If some parts of the nervous system become hyperactive, it usually shows in the form of what is known as hysteria. It manifests itself in the form of seizures, spasms and contractions of the limbs, paralysis, loss of sensation over areas of the body and some affections of the internal organs. Most of the symptoms are the result of auto-suggestion and can be relieved by the suggestions of another person or the physician.

Even though hysteria may strike anybody, it is generally the females who fall a victim to the malady. Heredity is one of the most important factors in hysteria. Latin races are more subject to it that other. Faulty upbringing during childhood may predispose a young woman to hysteria. Unequally developed minds pampered by their parents may fall victim to hysteria by any of the precipitating factors like a sudden fright, family worries, shock of the death of a loved one or a love affair. A victim of hysteria becomes whimsical dominated by certain pet ideas and unable to work or concentrate on anything which used to interest her before the attack of the malady. The victim may become morally unhinged and may deceive all those around her.

Hysteria generally strikes suddenly: a precipitating factor may induce sudden laughter or weeping. The patient may fall in a swoon. We should note here the difference between an epileptic fit and hysteria: an epileptic falls into unconsciousness regardless of the place where he is standing, but the hysterical patient takes care to lower herself gently into a chair or on the floor. She may moan, move her head from side to side and even roll her eyes. In this state she may see visions and exhibit powerful emotions of fear, ecstasy or joy. There may be a loss of sensation in some parts of the body akin to that of paralysis. A muscular deformity may result from the convulsions of the muscles.



If paralysis is found with hysteria, it is generally of a psychological origin. If the attention of the patient is diverted or somebody in whom the patient has faith is able to convince her that there is nothing physically wrong with her, the paralysis passes off. In some cases the patient may lose the ability to speak in spite of the fact that there is nothing wrong with her larynx.

The disease affects only those women who have a weak will power and have fantasies of suffering. Some changes may take place in the internal organs and may manifest themselves in the shape of constant hiccough, vomiting, diarrhea, anorexia (loss of appetite), inflammation of the hip or knee joint etc., but they go away the moment hysteria is cured.

Treatment: A person suffering from hysteria should be tactfully but firmly handled. She should not be allowed to while away her time in useless pursuits. She must be given enough to do to keep her busy. She should not be pampered nor allowed to brood. She must be told to stiffen her will power and asked to throw off the malady by sheer exercise of will. Persuation, psycho-analysis or education, and employment are the watchwords in the treatment of hysteria.

The exact nature of the precipitating factor which brought the fit of hysteria must be discovered. If the patient is unmarried she should be advised to marry; if there is an irregularity of menses, it should be corrected; if there is any other disorder like that of digestion, it must be removed. The fits can be cured by the remedies recommended for epilepsy. One masha of the powder of Sarpgandha should be administered in the morning and evening with milk till a complete cure has been obtained.

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