Hysteria is an outmoded medical term which continues to be used in an idiomatic sense to denote uncontrollable and excessive emotional conditions, such as fear or passion, as well as the resulting absurd actions. In effect, the term hysteria was initially used to depict women who behaved illogically owing to hypothetical uterine disturbances. It may be noted that the American Psychiatric Association (APA) substituted the analysis 'hysterical neurosis, conversion type' using 'conversion disorder' in 1980.

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Precisely speaking, the term 'hysteria' has been derived from the Greek word denoting 'uterus'. In ancient times, medical practitioners were of the belief that women who abstained from sexual intercourse for a long period endured mental commotion in consequence of the uterus drawing back into the body and constricting the other adjacent internal organs.

However, in the 19th century medicine, this assumption was renewed and was once again revived in the 1920s owing to the effect of the Austrian neurologist who is also known as the father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud's psychosomatic conjectures. In order to treat women who were supposedly enduring hysteria, physicians in those days employed induced orgasm. However, since then, the concept of supposed female hysteria has been doubted.

According to contemporary psychosomatic thinking, there are basically two kinds of hysteria - somatoform hysteria and dissociative hysteria. Somatoform hysteria is marked by physical or psychological symptoms and one instance of this type of hysteria is conversion disorder, wherein neurological symptoms like pain, paralysis and fits occur without any neural grounds.

The other instances of somatoform hysteria comprise dysmorphic disorder (also known as dysmorphophobia), hypochondria (too much worries regarding one's health) and chronic fatigue syndrome. It needs to be noted that people suffering from somatoform hysteria actually do not sham their ailments; instead the symptoms experienced by them have inorganic or psychological reasons rather than any biological cause.

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On the other hand, dissociative hysteria is typically distinguished by fugue condition (a period when the patients have a temporary loss of memory to certain extent and when they recover, they do not remember anything about this phase), which is also known as amnesia. In effect, loss of memory and changes in traits are very frequent symptoms in people enduring dissociative hysteria. Similar to somatoform hysteria, a fugue condition is never a deliberate elusion.

Contemporary psychiatric conjecture holds that hysteria is actually an attempt by the body to tackle psychological sufferings. In some cases, the patient may have a benefit, for instance evading of anything that is responsible for the suffering. In other words, the patient becomes extremely sick to keep on working at a traumatic job or living on his/ her own. However, occasionally, there are no obvious gains; for instance, any individual experiencing symptoms of poisoning owing to an erroneous conviction that he/ she has been poisoned by someone.

It is a fact that any individual enduring hysteria does not have any control over his/ her feelings and sentiments. Precisely speaking, they become emotionally perturbed. Talking in medical terminology, hysteria just denotes mental as well as nervous disorders. The medical condition it attributable to anxiety, tension, strain, depression, inherited causes as well as issues related to sex. While women generally suffer from this medical condition, men may also have hysteria.

Such patients may begin to laugh or cry without any rhyme or reason. This is primarily owing to the fact that within the minds of such patients, there is a variety of emotions bundled up. In addition to sudden outbursts of laughter or crying, patients suffering from hysteria also experience other symptoms, such as rapid breathing, clenched teeth, distension of the veins in the region of the neck, cramps in their limbs, deep moaning (sighing), and a feeling of constraint in the throat, gentle reverberating inside the belly and stressed muscles.

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Apart from the symptoms already discussed above, people suffering from hysteria also experience a number of prominent indications, such as partial loss of consciousness, wild and excruciating cries, involuntary locomotor muscle constriction, fierce and chaotic heart beats, aggressive movements and even frequent spitting.

Occasionally, such patients also cavort on their bed and at different times take on postures that are related to those adopted by patients enduring tetanus. In effect, it is possible that the hysterical attacks would continue for several hours at a stretch. In addition, such patients may also recover from this state to consciousness promptly soon after the convulsions.

The psychological symptoms experienced by patients suffering from hysteria comprise a flawed of determination, a propensity to emotional insecurity as well as a deep desire for love and compassion. People who are hysterical often have a tendency to react very eagerly to proposals and by means of this suggestibility, they are generally greatly influenced by their environs.

The morbid overstated dispositions result in impetuous behaviour that might frequently be seen as unreasonable. In fact, such patients are vulnerable to be very much misinterpreted and underestimate. Occasionally, there may even be a lot of forgetfulness as well as loss of memory regarding events or for specific periods. When such mental dissociation is acute, the patients may also develop hysterical attacks that are wandering in nature. This often results in a condition of dual personality or double consciousness.

The stupor caused by hysterical attacks may even remain for several days or even weeks. In such situations, it appears that the patients are in deep slumber; however, their muscles are generally not relaxed. When the condition of the patients becomes extremely serious in this state, the action of their heart as well as their breathing might be barely clear and people may suspect that the patient has died.

The other symptoms experienced by patients suffering hysterical attacks include somnambulism (sleep walking) and catalepsy - a condition wherein the limbs of the patients remain in the same position in which they are placed.

Supplements and herbs

Lettuce is regarded to be a highly effective remedy for hysteria. A cup of freshly extracted lettuce juice blended with a teaspoonful of Indian gooseberry (botanical name, Emblica officinalis) juice ought to be given to patients suffering from hysteria every morning at a stretch for a month.

Although drinking lettuce juice and juice of other vegetables might not have any express impact on this medical condition by itself, eating lettuce as well as fresh vegetables may facilitate in cleansing the body of toxic substance that may be responsible for different health disorders which may also augment the problems associated with hysteria.

In addition to lettuce and Indian gooseberry, the herb called rauwolfia is also extremely helpful in treating hysteria. The dried out root of this herb is powdered and one gram of the powder mixed in a cup of milk should be given to people suffering from hysteria once in the morning and again in the evening.

Treatment with this herb should be continued till the condition has been cured completely. Treating hysteria using herbs is an effective way to tackle the anxiety and nervousness associated with this condition. Besides the fact that the herbs do not enclose any synthetic chemical compounds, they also have insignificant side effects compared to allopathic drugs meant for treating hysteria.

It has been found that the herb asafoetida (botanical name, Ferula asafoetida) is also useful in treating hysteria. When people having a propensity to this disease smell this pungent gum, which is obtained from the latex exuded by the underground rhizome of species belonging to the genus Ferula, they are able to avoid hysterical attacks.

This gum may also be taken orally in dosage of 0.5 gm to 1.0 gm every day. An emulsion or suspension prepared with 2 grams of this gum added to 120 ml water is an effective cathartic in treating hysteria. This emulsion is usually given to patients who loathe taking the gum by mouth.

In addition, it is also known that asafoetida possesses highly relaxing attributes and, hence, it is prescribed for treating hysteria. With a view to treat female hysteria, a patient requires assessing the reason behind hysteria. When the treatment has begun, it is essential to observe the medical condition of the patient cautiously prior to any enduring treatment plan is prepared.

It may be noted that during pregnancy women may experience hormonal imbalances in their body, which, in turn, may result in sufficient unsteadiness/ insecurity in their emotional make-up. This may eventually make them endure frequent hysteria attacks as well as depression, which is detrimental for the health of the fetus.

A number of fruits, such apples, grapes, pineapples and jambul (Syzygium cumini) are also extremely useful in treating hysteria patients. Taking these fruits at least thrice daily is beneficial for such patients. If it is possible, such patients should keep away from taking their regular meals for a period of three days and only consume these fruits.

As mentioned above, jambul is a very useful fruit for treating hysteria. Jambul may be consumed raw in the form of a fruit or taken in the form of a remedy by mixing jambul and salt. To make this remedy, take a number of jambul fruit and add some salt to it. Store the mixture in a sealed container and eat the jambul on empty stomach everyday for a period of two weeks. In effect, the mixture of jambul and salt is considered to be among the best home made remedies for treating hysteria.


Aromatherapy is another effective way of treating hysteria. The essential oils used in aromatherapy for curing hysteria comprise clary sage, chamomile Roman, marjoram, lavender, melissa, peppermint, neroli, rosemary and ylang ylang. However, it needs to be noted that the essential oils mentioned above are more effective in preventing crises caused by hysteria rather than tackling with the medical condition when it has already started.

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Additional things you may do

Apart from using herbs and supplements as well as aromatherapy, you may do a number of things to prevent hysterical attacks as well as to cure the medical condition. For instance, honey is considered to be a highly useful remedy for hysteria. Patients suffering from hysteria will benefit greatly if they take one tablespoonful of honey every day.

Honey is known to disintegrate the triglycerides that are responsible for blocking the valves of the heart and, in that way, averting diminishing or aiding in preventing the episodes of high blood pressure (hypertension). Since the circulation of blood through the heart is not constrained, blood pressure continues to be normal and this way one can avoid hysteria in events when difficult circumstances take place.

In addition, application of the pulp of bottle gourd on the head of people suffering from hysteria is also effective in treating hysteria.

A person who has experienced a hysteria attack will benefit if they begin consuming milk together with fruits like jambul, grapes, apples and pineapples from the fourth day of the attack and continue it for about a month. From the second month onwards, they should begin consuming vegetables, seeds, grains and nuts. When they follow this schedule, their body would be able to develop superior quality blood and also supply appropriate nutrients for the nerves.

People suffering from hysteria should completely give up smoking as well as drinking alcohol. They should also avoid taking tea, coffee, tobacco, white flour and white sugar as much as possible. These substances actually cause harm to the brain and, therefore, will result in additional problems in patients enduring hysteria.

Yoga has proved to be the best alternative to avoid distension as well as sprains of the veins. In addition, undertaking work-outs on a regular basis is also a good way to prevent hysteria. Yoga and exercises will help to lessen the tension and pressure and help the hysteria patients to achieve composure or peace of mind. Moreover, meditation is also extremely useful in curing hysteria. Several doctors also advise their patients enduring hysteria to do meditation to alleviate their problems.

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