Hysteria: causes, symptoms and treatment
Hysteria refers to complex neuroses and manifests itself in the form of specific emotional-affective states, as well as in the form of somatovegetative clinical manifestations. The disease is characterized by reversibility of neuropsychiatric disorders, as well as the absence of obvious pathological and morphological changes in the central nervous system.
At one time, hysteria was considered an exclusively female disease. However, research and analysis of statistics made it possible to establish that men are also susceptible to hysteria. Moreover, male patients with this type of neurosis are no less than women.
Hysteria is a medical diagnosis, not a simulation of a certain condition. The person himself does not realize that he is sick, therefore, the approach to such patients should be as careful as possible. The more skeptical the people around them relate to a person's well-being, the stronger the manifestations of pathology will be.
- What is hysteria?
- Causes of hysterical neurosis
- Symptoms of hysteria
- Clinical forms of hysteria
- Which doctor should I go to with hysteria?
- Treatment of hysteria
What is hysteria?
Hysteria (or hysterical neurosis) is a mental disorder that manifests itself in various disorders: functional, autonomic, motor, affective and sensitive.
A person suffering from hysteria seeks to draw attention to himself, which is one of the symptoms of the disease. Although the patient often has disturbances in the functioning of the body as a whole and the nervous system in particular. So, pathological manifestations from the side of the brain can be expressed in the development of blindness, paralysis, etc.
Hysteria is a polyetiological disease. Its development can be provoked by the conditions in which the personality is formed.
Treatment should be comprehensive. Strengthening of the immune system and the nervous system is required. It is equally important to direct efforts to eliminate the manifestations of the disease.
In modern medical practice, the term hysteria is not used. There is no such concept neither in the international classification of diseases, nor in the DSM-VI.
This pathology is indicated by the following names:
- Disturbing hysteria.
- Conversion or dissociative disorders.
- Hysterical personality disorder.
- Somatoform disorders.
Medicine considers hysteria as a personality disorder, which is characterized by superficial judgments, increased self-hypnosis, a desire to attract attention, a tendency to fantasies, mental lability, and theatrical behavior.
Causes of hysterical neurosis
External and internal factors are capable of provoking the development of hysteria. Also, the features of the emotional sphere of a particular person, the characteristics of his personality and suggestibility, which affects the course of the thoughts of patients and his emotional state, are important.
Internal personality conflict can cause hysteria. Often the impetus for the development of the disease is stress, being in which, a person is forced to restrain his own emotions. He suppresses them, does not show negative experiences.
Society, by itself, develops hysteria within every person. People with emotional weakness are not able to suppress negative emotions in themselves for a long time. One day they will come out, which will be expressed in inappropriate behavior.
Risk factors that can lead to the development of hysteria:
- Diseases of the somatic plan.
- Physical and psychological trauma.
- Taking sleeping pills and tranquilizers without medical supervision.
- Alcoholism and drug addiction.
Hysterical neurosis is a frequent companion of people who grew up in dysfunctional families. Also, the disease can develop in people who are in circumstances unusual for them. We must not forget about such individual personality characteristics as the character and psychotype of a person.
Psychologists have identified the reasons that can lead to the development of hysteria:
Immaturity of the psyche. The modern individual is getting younger not only in body (striving to stay young as long as possible), but also in soul (infantilism lasts longer than in past years or even centuries). Many children grow up to be suggestible, impressionable. They have reduced independence, while many of them are selfish. Such mental disorders are a consequence of the peculiarities of upbringing, as well as those goals that are set for a person. From childhood, they are set up to be successful, which is not always possible in real life.
Emotional upheavals. Conflict situations, difficulties, everyday problems are reflected in a negative way on mental health. A person encounters them every day. People with a strong psyche calmly overcome all stresses, and an emotionally weak person breaks down. As a result, he develops hysteria.
Symptoms of hysteria
Symptoms of hysteria are most intense when a person is surrounded by other people. His behavior becomes demonstrative. Hysteria develops unexpectedly and also suddenly ends.
Its main symptoms are:
- Patient coordination will be disrupted.
- The hands are shaky.
- The voice may drop out.
- Muscle tics and cramps are common.
Somatic symptoms. There are certain features of hysterical neurosis that distinguish it from somatic diseases. So, aphonia is characterized by a lack of voice, but a person coughs with sound. This is due to the fact that with hysterical paralysis, muscle tissue does not atrophy. Trying to attract attention to themselves, patients often pretend to faint, respiratory distress, can wring their hands, rush about. However, when you manage to distract them, the severity of these symptoms becomes much less intense.
Sensory disturbances. Sensory disturbances are expressed by an increase, decrease, or complete absence of sensitivity. The patient himself can indicate which part of his body is numb. Also, patients with hysteria often have pain in various places. Many patients indicate that they become blind or deaf during a tantrum. From the side of the eyes, there may be such disorders as a decrease in the fields of vision, distortion of color perception. At the same time, a person is normally oriented in space. Deafness is often accompanied by a violation of the sensitivity of the skin of the ears.
Vegetative symptoms. Symptoms that appear with hysteria from the autonomic system are diverse.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Decreased breathing.
- Pain in the heart and other organs.
- False spasm of the esophagus due to which a person refuses to eat.
Theatrical seizures are another symptom of hysteria. They are aimed at attracting attention to themselves and at achieving the requirements put forward. The patient can bend and fall to the floor, while the falls are quite "correct" and as safe as possible. Often people start banging their heads against solid objects, waving their arms and legs, crying or laughing loudly. By all appearance, a person indicates that he is suffering incredibly. If you check the reaction of the pupils, then it will be preserved, the patient himself is conscious. The face may be red or pale.
You can stop the seizure with a hard slap. Alternatively, a person can be doused with cold water. All of these signs make it possible to distinguish hysteria from an epileptic seizure.
Clinical forms of hysteria
Depending on which type of violation prevails, the forms of hysteria can be as follows:
- Hysterical paralysis. The muscles of a person become weak, first of all, the arms and legs suffer. As a result, he cannot move them normally.
- Hysterical disturbances of sensitivity. This can include pain and numbness of the skin in various parts of the body.
- Hysterical astasia-abasia, that is, gait disturbances. The patient cannot walk, and when trying to get to his feet, he swings strongly in different directions.
- Hysterical blindness. The patient loses the ability to see with one or two eyes.
Hysterical deafness. Hearing is absent in both ears, but sometimes it only decreases in one ear.
- Hysterical convulsive seizures. This form of hysteria is characterized by the appearance of uncontrolled limb movements. At this time, the person may lose consciousness.
- Hysterical mutism. The patient cannot speak, but at the same time points to the lips, indicating that speech is impossible.
- Hysterical amnesia. A person can lose memory for a short time.
- Hysterical coma. The patient loses consciousness. He does not give a reaction to everything that is happening around him, does not speak, does not open his eyes, does not respond to a name, does not feel pain. The coma can last from a few minutes to several days.
Such a unique medical phenomenon as mass hysteria deserves special attention. It proceeds as a mental epidemic. Scientists explain this phenomenon by the increased suggestibility of many people. Mass psychosis rarely occurs. At the same time, a violation of the perception of the world develops in several people at once. Mass hysteria is used as proof that humans are herd instincts.
Which doctor should I go to with hysteria?
Specialists such as neurologists and psychiatrists deal with the diagnosis and therapy of hysteria.
Video: a detailed description of the hysterical neurosis. The reasons and methods of treatment are considered. Hysteria as a way to attract attention in order to get what you want:
Hysteria is dangerous because it is often confused with personality traits. For a long time, patients believe that the reason for their inappropriate behavior is banal overwork. In fact, one should not ignore the changes on the part of the psyche. Moreover, hysteria can lead to deafness and blindness. The disease requires identification and treatment.
During the appointment, the doctor will examine the patient, conduct a series of neurological tests with him. The psychiatrist evaluates the psychological status of a person. To assess the state of human health, it will be necessary to conduct electroneuromyography, EEG, MRI, CT. What kind of diagnostic study is required for a particular patient must be decided by the doctor.
Treatment of hysteria
Hysteria is characterized by continuous development. Many patients adapt to its manifestations. They indicate that they are simply shocking personalities and society accepts them. Other people are not able to put up with mental changes, since hysterical seizures lead to problems in relationships with both loved ones and work colleagues. These people need help.
First aid for a hysterical seizure
For a person to have an attack of hysteria, a traumatic effect must be exerted on his psyche. Most often, it is quite long.
Since an attack is often of the type of epilepsy, you need to be able to provide first aid to patients:
- The people around the person with the seizure should themselves remain as calm as possible. The more emotionally they react to the patient's tantrum, the longer the attack will last. You should behave as if nothing strange is happening. If the patient feels attention, he will strive to attract it even more.
- If possible, then the person should be taken to a separate room and put to bed.
- Items that could cause injury should be removed.
- The fewer strangers there are, the better. If they start expressing sympathy out loud, the seizure will get worse.
- You can bring cotton wool soaked in ammonia to the patient's nose.
- Avoid getting too close to someone with a seizure. The attack will pass if the patient realizes that he cannot achieve the desired effect with his help.
A person should not be left alone, as during an attack, he may attempt to demonstrate suicide. It may be dangerous.
Psychotherapy allows you to get rid of hysteria. Treatment does not work only when patients use their disease for some benefit. For example, to be given attention with and without it.
Psychoanalysis. This is a method of providing a complex effect on the patient. With its help, you can not only get rid of hysteria, but also identify the causes of the development of this disorder. If you understand why a person has hysteria, you can choose the best ways to influence him. This will require "digging" in childhood memories and in other age periods of the patient's life. A competent psychoanalyst will be able to connect the events of a past life with what is happening to a person today.
Group and family psychotherapy. These methods allow the patient to evaluate himself from the outside. If he learns to empathize with other people and gets positive emotions from this, then his problem will be resolved. Psychodrama is one of the methods of psychotherapy. The patient is asked to take on the role and experiences of another person. In this case, a conflict situation is played out. Family psychotherapy allows you to get rid of interpersonal conflicts within the family. Relationships between adults and adults, adults with children are being worked out.
Cognitive- behavioral psychotherapy. It is one of the most effective treatments for hysteria. The doctor tells the patient how to get out of problem situations correctly in order to get the most positive result. All techniques are worked out in practice. A person is given a certain framework, taking into account which he must realize his needs.
If the patient has symptoms of depression to a large extent, then he is prescribed drugs. With a combination of hysteria and depression, the use of MAO inhibitors, tetracyclic and tricyclic antidepressants is indicated. Provided that therapy has the desired effect, drugs are gradually withdrawn. During the period of recovery from depression, the patient must be monitored, since at this time thoughts of suicide can still haunt him.
Drugs that can be used in the treatment regimen:
- Sedative phyto drugs.
- Sleeping pills. They are prescribed when the patient is pursued by insomnia.
- Fortifying agents.
As a rule, with a professional approach, hysteria lends itself well to correction. If a person lives in favorable conditions, everything is normal in his personal life and work, then coping with the disease is not difficult.
Although in some cases certain elements of demonstrative behavior may persist. As they grow older, a person becomes more serious and wiser. With the help of a psychotherapist, he learns to apply his character traits to his own benefit.
Less optimistic prognosis for those patients who suffer from autonomic disorders, provoked by hysteria. Decompensation in these patients occurs in old age.
If the patient is prone to pathological fantasies, then the treatment is complicated. All of these people are chronic liars. Moreover, they deceive without any specific purpose, their lies do not make sense. The progression of the disease can lead to the fact that a person begins to vilify himself. For example, he may confess to a crime that he did not commit. If you do not prescribe treatment for such a patient, then there is a possibility that the personality is degraded.
To minimize the risk of developing hysteria, the following preventive measures must be followed:
- All conflicts that arise within the family and outside it must be resolved.
- If you cannot cope with the problem on your own, then you need to contact a psychologist and psychiatrist.
- On the recommendation of a doctor, you can take medications that have a sedative effect.
- You should sleep at least 8 hours a day.
- Every day you need to be in the fresh air. You need to walk for at least an hour.
Author of the article: Sokov Andrey Vladimirovich | Neurologist
Education: In 2005 completed an internship at the IM Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University and received a diploma in Neurology. In 2009, completed postgraduate studies in the specialty "Nervous diseases".