What most physicians in their ardor have left untouched and untreated is the hysterical psyche which gave rise to the symptom which has incapacitated the patient. [5] The concept of a pathological "wandering womb" was later viewed as the source of the term hysteria,[6] which stems from the Greek cognate of uterus, ὑστέρα (hystera), although the word hysteria does not feature in ancient Greek medicine: 'the noun is not used in this period'. In layman's terms, hysteria is often used to describe behavior that seems excessive and out of control. We use the word not with any scientific precision, but because it is the name most commonly given to a kind of enthusiasm that has degenerated into habitual nervous excitement. He dispelled the beliefs that hysteria had anything to do with the supernatural and attempted to define it medically. [13] Charcot's use of photography,[14] and the resulting concretization of women's expressions of health and distress, continued to influence women's experiences of seeking healthcare. Hysteria, Patriarchy, and the Invention of the Vibrator. A healthy, well-functioning body is best able to keep. [4], In ancient Greece, wandering womb was described in the gynecological treatise of the Hippocratic Corpus, "Diseases of Women",[5] which dates back to the 5th and 4th centuries BC. ( Log Out /  In some cases a shockingly cold hose was used to spray patients down. [1] It is no longer recognized by medical authorities as a medical disorder. For instance, for the treatment of many ailments, including arthritis and gout, a warm bath was recommended 2 or 3 times weekly as part of the “German nature cure”. Female Hysteria. To effectively eliminate the symptoms of hysteria in the first place, requires the elimination of the causes of the patient’s nervous excitement, and it is not easy. Women of the era were often urged to keep small bottles of smelling salts within their handbags for them to smell if they felt a “hysterical paroxysm” come upon them (Tasca at al., 113). Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. Cases of hysteria have commonly occurred in both males and females but, among females the number is far greater particularly in the age group of 14 to 25 years. Alvarado, Carlos S. “Nineteenth-Century Hysteria and Hypnosis: A Historical Note on Blanche Wittmann.” Australian Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis. Treatment for Female Hysteria The prescription to this disease in was intercourse. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Female_hysteria, https://thepenningtonedition.wordpress.com/2012/02/05/victorian-remedies-of-course-its-safe/. Feminist writers such as Catherine Clément and Hélène Cixous wrote in The Newly Born Woman from a place of opposition to the theories proposed in psychoanalytical works, pushing against the notion that socially constructed femininities and hysteria are natural to being female. Its diagnosis and treatment were routine for hundreds of years in Western Europe. The black berry fruit is considered an effective home remedy for hysteria. [20][21][22] In 2018, Hallie Lieberman and Eric Schatzberg of Georgia Institute of Technology challenged Maines's claims for the use of electromechanical vibrators to treat hysteria in the 19th century. April 4th 2016. Electronic. Mitchell believed hysteria was caused by overstimulation of the mind, which women could not tolerate because they did not have the capacity. Eventually, physicians would use the hand-held electric vibrator as it was quicker and prevented muscle aches and pains. Mesmer identified a fluid within the body, of which he named “animal magnetism.” He believed that the magnetic action of the hands upon the diseased part of the body could treat the patient by interacting with the fluid (Tasca et al., 114) Basically, his theory suggests that the body gives off some sort of invisible force that can be manipulated to cure people of illness. He thought that hysteria may have been related to the unconscious mind and separate from the conscious mind or the ego. The selection of homeopathic medicine for hysteria is based upon the theory of individualization and symptoms similarity by using holistic approach. Freud developed psychoanalysis in order to help patients that had been diagnosed with hysteria reduce internal conflicts causing physical and emotional suffering. As prescribed by a doctor can be applied restorative drugs. The rate of hysteria was so great in the socially restrictive industrial period that women were prone to carry smelling salts about their person in case they swooned, reminiscent of Hippocrates' theory of using odors to coerce the uterus back into place. If pleasure was obtained from them then hysteria could be cured. Tasca, Cecilia, Mariangela Rapetti, Mauro Giovanni Carta, and Bianca Fadda. The aim of homeopathic medicine for hysteria is not only to treat hysteria but to address its underlying cause and individual susc… Hysterical Men: Gender and American Medical Discourse, 1840-1898. [26] Sigmund Freud was fascinated by cases of hysteria. [17], According to Pierre Roussel and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, femininity was a natural and essential desire for women: "Femininity is for both authors an essential nature, with defined functions, and the disease is explained by the non-fulfillment of natural desire. Another very obscure form of treatment for hysteria during the 1800s is that of “Mesmerism.”. The Victorian era saw a wide variety of cures and treatments for hysteria, some of which were extremely bizarre. The symptoms of hysteria can be found as early as 1900 BC in the Egyptian papyri (the actual word hysteria is derived from hystera, Greek for uterus). Hysterical women, who represented the great majority of cases, were cured by physical therapy (notably physio-, hydro-, and electrotherapy, and in some cases ovary compression) and 'moral' therapies (general, causal therapy, rest, isolation, hypnosis, and suggestion). [9] After the 17th century, the correlation of demonic possession and hysteria were gradually discarded and instead was described as behavioral deviance, a medical issue.[10]. Charcot also believed that the body contained “hysterogenic zones,” that when touched would activate spasms or convulsions (Collini). ( Log Out /  ven Charcot, who openly notes that hysteria is not an illness of the uterus, believes that a woman’s ovaries are still sensitive “hysterogenic zones.” Basically, it would appear as if even scientific theory and development was still emphasizing the importance  woman’s maternal role in Victorian society. Electronic. Other than participating in sexual intercourse, it was thought that fumigating the body with special fragrances would supposedly draw the uterus back to its natural spot in the female body. There were various forms of “genital massage,” ranging from the manual massage, where doctors apply pressure on the woman’s clitoris with their fingers, to hydrotherapy, where the doctors apply pressure using water (Starr and Aron, 373-374). 21.2 (2006): 45-61. 21 (2011): 373-392. [6], While in the Hippocratic texts a wide range of women were susceptible – including in particular the childless – Galen in the 2nd century omitted the childless and saw the most vulnerable group as "widows, and particularly those who previously menstruated regularly, had been pregnant and were eager to have intercourse, but were now deprived of all this" (On the Affected Parts, 6.5). [11][13] This would later lead to Freud's development of the Oedipus complex, which connotes femininity as a failure, or lack of masculinity. When a patient could not be diagnosed or cured of a disease, it was thought that the symptoms of what would now be diagnosed as mental illness, were actually those of someone possessed by the devil. The management of hysterical patients is difficult. Another means of “treating” instances of hysteria was through mesmerism, an alleged psychosomatic therapy popularized by Franz Anton Mesmer, … Some medical authors claim that the decline was due to gaining a greater understanding of the psychology behind conversion disorders such as hysteria. In the 16th and 17th centuries, hysteria was still believed to be due to the retention of humour or fluids in the uterus, sexual deprivation, or by the tendency of the uterus to wander around the female body causing irritability and suffocation. The 13th century Europe was no different in their definitions of hysteria, only now recommending that widows and nuns partake in the treatment of hysteria to balance the fluids and emotional stability of such individuals. A physician in 1859 claimed that a quarter of all women suffered from hysteria, which is reasonable considering that one physician cataloged 75 pages of possible symptoms of hysteria and called the list incomplete; almost any ailment could fit the diagnosis. Over the course of the early 20th century, the number of patients of female hysteria sharply declined, and today it is no longer a recognized illness. For centuries, female hysteria was a common medical diagnosis, with women forced to undergo treatment simply for having shown signs of shortness … [2], The history of hysteria can be traced to ancient times. Doctors would sometimes apply an electrical charge to the woman’s genitals as well (Starr and Aron, 374). Collini, Sara. Web. Engraving of Mesmerism, 1794. “Sexual Trauma at the Salpetriere.” Journal of Psychohistory. Charcot's use of photography, and the resulting concretization of women's expressions of he… 1860. Do not eat a meal less than an hour before going to bed 4. Drink 8 or more glasses of water every day to maintain the hydration of the body 5. Other cures for female hysteria included bed rest, bland food, seclusion, refraining from mentally taxing tasks (like reading) and sensory deprivation. Female hysteria was once a common medical diagnosis for women, which was described as exhibiting a wide array of symptoms, including anxiety, shortness of breath, fainting, nervousness, sexual desire, insomnia, fluid retention, heaviness in the abdomen, irritability, loss of appetite for food or sex, (paradoxically) sexually forward behaviour, and a "tendency to cause trouble for others". Skip to main content Accessibility help We use cookies to distinguish you from other users and to provide you with a better experience on our websites. [9] At the time female patients sought medical practitioners for the massage treatment of hysteria. [19], Frederick Hollick was a firm believer that a main cause of hysteria was licentiousness present in women. Exercise and outdoor games are also important. Fortunately, a reliable, socially acceptable treatment appeared. Another very obscure form of treatment for hysteria during the 1800s is that of “Mesmerism.” Invented by German physician Franz Mesmer, the treatment involves a mixture of hypnosis and “animal magnetism” in order to cure a woman of her hysterical behaviour. There were many reasons for its decline. Although this treatment is now recognized as mere suggestion, it did help in the development of hypnosis (Tasca et al., 114). Even Charcot, who openly notes that hysteria is not an illness of the uterus, believes that a woman’s ovaries are still sensitive “hysterogenic zones.” Basically, it would appear as if even scientific theory and development was still emphasizing the importance  woman’s maternal role in Victorian society. In this case, can help psychotherapy, belief, hypnosis. But there are certain principles that can be followed. Despite Victorian doctor’s acknowledgement of hysteria as an illness that can affect both men and women, the general consensus was that it still primarily affected women. [11], Rachel Maines hypothesized that physicians from the classical era until the early 20th century commonly treated hysteria by manually stimulating the genitals of, i. e. masturbating, female patients to the point of orgasm, which was denominated "hysterical paroxysm", and that the inconvenience of this may have motivated the original development of and market for the vibrator. [1] Although Maines's theory that hysteria was treated by masturbating female patients to orgasm is widely repeated in the literature on female anatomy and sexuality,[19] some historians dispute Maines's claims regarding the prevalence of this treatment for hysteria and its relevance to the invention of the vibrator, describing them as a distortion of the evidence or that they are only relevant to a very small group. 8 (2012): 110-119. [7] This was believed to be thinner than male seed and could be retained in the womb. Avoid lying down after eating 3. Doctors would administer "pelvic massage," or manual stimulation of the female genitals, until the "afflicted" individual reached a state of "hysterical paroxysm," now understood as an orgasm. Marriage, and regular sexual encounters with her husband, was still the most highly recommended long-term course of treatment for a woman suffering from hysteria. Drugs like antidepressants or anxiolytics can be tried if depression or anxiety co-exists. [5] He also denied that the womb could "move from one place to another like a wandering animal". In fact, doctors did not believe that pleasure had anything to do with it, as it was assumed that women were sexless creatures. [3] Charcot's theories of hysteria being a physical affliction of the mind and not of the body led to a more scientific and analytical approach to hysteria in the 19th century. [18] One American physician expressed pleasure in the fact that the country was "catching up" to Europe in the prevalence of hysteria. can be given for a short time. Electronic. So, when we speak of the treatment and cure of these patients, we wrongly say we have cured the hysteria; we have cured only the hysterical symptom. Doctors would sometimes apply an electrical charge to the woman’s genitals as well (Starr and Aron, 374). French neurologist, Jean-Martin Charcot, who is considered to be the father of neurology, studied a variety of patients with hysteria at the Salpetriere hospital (Ross, 277). What is hysteria? As a last resort, in the case of virgins or nuns, women considered to be suffering from hysteria would sometimes undergo “pelvic massage” manual stimulation of the genitals by the doctor until the patient experienced “ hysterical paroxysm “. physical welfare is of primary importance. physician Franz Mesmer, the treatment involves a mixture of hypnosis and “animal magnetism” in order to cure a woman of her hysterical behaviour. 37.1 (2009): 21-36. [3] In this culture, the womb was thought capable of affecting much of the rest of the body, but "there is no warrant for the fanciful view that the ancient Egyptians believed that a variety of bodily complaints were due to an animate, wandering womb". Furthermore, the term hysteria, once the focus of intensive treatment efforts and research, can scarcely be found in modern mainstream psychiatric literature. [28] He was convinced that deep conflicts in the mind, some concerning instinctual drives for sex and aggression, were driving the behavior of those with hysteria. Treatment of Hysteria. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Presupposition: hysteria as illness based on the "blockage" of certain fluids released upon orgasm; treatment as physically instigating orgasm in order to break through this "blockage" and initiate healthy "flow" of fluids. "[9] It was during the industrial revolution and the major development of cities and modern lifestyles that disruption of this natural appetite was thought to cause lethargy or melancholy, leading to hysteria. One such treatment is that of the “gentle massage.” The doctor would gently rub the woman’s genitals, inducing a sudden attack or spasm, referred to as a “paroxysm.” Nowadays, we recognize that these so-called “paroxysms” were actually orgasms. [24], During the early 20th century, the number of women diagnosed with female hysteria sharply declined. It was thought that demoniacal forces were attracted to those who were prone to melancholy, particularly to single women and the elderly. Hysteria seems like a term that applies to people who are being a little overly emotional, so it may surprise you to learn that it was once a common medical diagnosis. [9][11] It was thought to purge the uterus of any built-up fluid, and semen was thought to have healing properties, 'In this model ejaculation outside the vagina was conducive to uterine disease, since the female genitalia did not receive the health benefits of male emission. This is the only way through which a state of complete health can be regained by removing all the sign and symptoms from which the patient is suffering. During this treatment, physicians would often interpret the woman’s cries of pleasure as cries of pain (Starr and Aron, 377). ', There was continued debate about whether it was morally acceptable for a physician to remove excess female seed through genital manipulation of the female patient; Pieter van Foreest (Forestus) and Giovanni Matteo da Grado (Gradus) insisted on using midwives as intermediaries, and regarded the treatment as the last resort.[12]. [6] Aretaeus of Cappadocia described the uterus as "an animal within an animal" (less emotively, "a living thing inside a living thing"), which causes symptoms by wandering around a woman's body putting pressure on other organs. Many doctors find these patients irritat­ing. Homeopathy is one of the most popular holistic systems of medicine. "One does not need to be against womens suffrage," the London Times editorialized in 1908, "to see that some of the more violent partisans of that cause are suffering from hysteria. In the 18th century, hysteria slowly became associated with mechanisms in the brain rather than the uterus. George Mason University. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. [25], With so many possible symptoms, historically hysteria was considered a catchall diagnosis where any unidentifiable ailment could be assigned. Victorian treatments for hysteria. Avoid or minimize the intake of spicy, greasy and fatty foods 2. Foul smells applied to the nose would drive it down, and pleasant scents at the vulva would attract it. [5][13] Feminist social historians of both genders argue that hysteria is caused by women's oppressed social roles, rather than by their bodies or psyches, and they have sought its sources in cultural myths of femininity and in male domination. [5] His treatments included scent therapy and sexual intercourse, but also rubbing in ointments to the external genitalia; this was to be performed by midwives, not physicians. Jean-Martin Charcot argued that hysteria derived from a neurological disorder and showed that it was more common in men than women. Conventional therapy offers little to treat those with hysteria. The common treatments for female hysteria also reflect the gender relationships of the times when the "condition" was prevalent. Since the causes of hysteria are both physical and. He dispelled the beliefs that hysteria had anything to do with the supernatural and attempted to define it medically. If marriage wasn’t an acceptable or possible treatment however, there was another technique of treatment for hysteria, prolapsed uteri and any gynecologicals problem really, rising in popularity in the late 17th century- uterine massage. Hysteria is curable in nearly all cases. Regard for one’s. In fact, he found that many of his female patients imitated the seizures of epileptic patients in an attempt to seek attention (Ross, 277). Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. Hysteria was a term was used to characterize a number of psychological symptoms such as blindness, loss of sensation, hallucinations, suggestibility, and highly emotional behavior. Furthermore, the term was also used to describe the symptoms of hysteria, as in the “attack” or the “fit,” truly obscuring what was being done (Starr and Aron 377). Yes, uterine or gynecologicals massage was exactly what you think it … [5], While most Hippocratic writers saw the retention of menstrual blood in the womb as a key problem, for Galen even more serious was the retention of "female seed". Close this message to … This decline has been attributed to many factors. Painkillers for symptoms of backache, body-ache, headache etc. Even though it was categorized as a disease, hysteria's symptoms were synonymous with normal functioning female sexuality. [26], Sigmund Freud claimed that hysteria was not anything physical at all but an emotional, internal affliction that could affect both males and females, which was caused by previous trauma that led to the afflicted being unable to enjoy sex in the normal way. “Women on the Couch: Genital Stimulation and the Birth of Psychoanalysis.” Psychoanalytic Dialogues. The preferred treatments, however, was still married intercourse, as well as vaginal massaging techniques. Treatment . Management of Hysteria. Dating back to 1900 BC in ancient Egypt, the first descriptions of hysteria within the female body were found recorded on the Kahun Papyri. 1) Rachel P. Maines, The Technology of Orgasm (2001): Study of how "vibrator" developed as a treatment for female hysteria. The Behavioural Treatment of Hysteria - Volume 134 Issue 2 - Julian Bird.

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