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Treatment of Hysteria

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Homeopathic Treatment of Hysteria

It is a neurotic disorder characterized by a wide variety of somatic and mental symptoms resulting from dissociation, typically beginning during adolescence or early adulthood and occurring more commonly in women than men.

Hysteria, in its colloquial use, describes unmanageable emotional excesses. People who are "hysterical" often lose self-control due to an overwhelming fear that may be caused by multiple events in one's past that involved some sort of severe conflict; the fear can be centered on a body part or, most commonly, on an imagined problem with that body part.

Hysteria can be described as a type of psychoneurosis (minor mental health problem) causing emotional excitability, such as fear or panic, and disturbance of the sensory, motor and psychic functions of humans. It is described as an overwhelming and unmanageable excitable behavior and has no organic basis.

Medically, the term hysteria is no longer used. The disorder is broadly divided two: somatization disorder and histrionic personality disorder. The father of medicine – Hippocrates gave hysteria its name, as he thought it was limited to women and was somehow connected to the movements of the uterus (wandering uterus); in Greek the word for uterus is ‘hystera’.

Causes of Hysteria:

  • Past trauma
  • Conflict
  • Undue stress
  • History of abuse
  • Another theory proposed to be a cause of hysteria is repression of sexual or aggressive behavior, which could have brought on a conversion disorder
  • Sexual repression
  • Excessive idleness
  • Heredity factors
  • Family history of nervousness
  • Faulty emotional training
  • Mental strain
  • Fear
  • Worry
  • Depression
  • Traumatism
  • Masturbation
  • Prolonged sickness
  • Brain tumor
  • Dementia

 

Symptoms and Signs of Hysteria:

Histrionic personality disorder is one of many personality disorders. People who fall into this category are socially a success, but a failure at inter-personal relationships. They tend to dress and be provocative and talk about their emotions in an exaggerated fashion. They are usually shallow, self-centered and unhappy when they are not the center of attention.

Somatization disorder is a rare psychological condition where the individual has a long list of medical complaints but upon examination and investigation, no medical cause can be attributed to it. Symptoms include various aches, nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, sexual complaints like low libido and erectile dysfunction.

Some of the common symptoms are mentioned below:

  • Partial paralysis
  • Temporary blindness or tunnel vision.
  • Sensory disturbances like heightened sense of sight, smell, touch and taste.
  • Involuntary movements like eyeball rolling inwards contracted facial muscles.
  • Abnormal muscle contractions causing person to have unnatural positions, for e.g. the leg may be folded backwards.Heaviness in the limbs
  • Severe cramps
  • Strong feeling of ascending abdominal constriction
  • Continual sighing
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Constriction in the chest
  • Palpitations
  • Feeling of a foreign body lodged in the throat
  • Swelling of the neck
  • Suffocation
  • Headache
  • Clenched teeth
  • Generalized and voluntary tensing of muscles of locomotion
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Violent and tumultuous heartbeats
  • Weakness
  • No willpower
  • Tendency towards emotional instability

Types of Hysteria:

Conversion Hysteria:

One type is the conversion disorder, in which a patient usually complains of a physical illness that has no medical cause. The other type is the dissociative disorder, in which the patient experiences interruptions in his memory, consciousness, and his awareness of his surroundings. Both types are said to have a common cause: a repressed or suppressed psychological or emotional experience that manifests itself in a physical manner.

Between the two types of hysteria, the conversion disorder is said to be more common.

Common symptoms include pain and inability to use a body part, such as not being able to lift one’s arms. A specific symptom called “astasia-abasia” refers to the patient’s inability to stand or sit up, but oddly enough, the person can easily move his legs when in a relaxed position, like lying down. In some cases, there is also an inability to use a sensory organ, such as blindness or deafness, or even a predomination of a certain sensation, such as constantly hearing a certain sound. When pain is not involved, partial paralysis or weakness can also be experienced.

One important criterion for diagnosing a conversion disorder is that the patient is not “faking it,” or just making up the pain. He actually feels the pain as real, although medical exams cannot find a proper cause for the pain. The physical symptoms also create difficulties in social and emotional well-being of the patient. Some disorders under conversion hysteria are body dimorphic disorder, hypochondriasis, and pain disorder.

Dissociative Hysteria:

In the other type of hysteria, the dissociative disorder, the patient has “spells” wherein he does not act like himself and often does not remember the incidents. The DSM Fourth Edition defines four disorders under the dissociative disorder, one of which is dissociative amnesia wherein a person fails to recall certain periods of time and information about her identity such as her address and family relatives. Usually, an object, a word, or a scene would trigger a sudden recall, although complete retrieval of memories might not happen. Another well-known type of dissociative hysteria is dissociative identity disorder, in which the patient is observed to have several identities, the most assertive of which may suddenly emerge during especially stressful moments. These identity transitions are usually not remembered, but the patient usually comes to disoriented and confused.

Diagnosis of Hysteria:

The physician will take a thorough history of the symptoms causing concern to the person after which there will be a thorough examination. Investigations may be advised if a certain problem is suspected. If the examination and investigations are inconclusive, the physician may recommend a consultation with a psychiatrist or psychologist for further evaluation.

Some might feel that because there is no abnormal finding, the patient is faking it to just draw attention. But it is important to understand that the patient is disturbed, and wants the problem to go away.

Investigations include:

  • Routine investigations like blood, urine and stool tests as well as X-rays.
  • An EEG is important to check whether the electrical activity of the brain is within normal limits.
  • Blood levels of brain chemicals like serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline can be done.

Treatment for Hysteria:

Conventional Therapy:

Conventional therapy offers little to treat those with hysteria. Drugs like antidepressants or anxiolytics can be tried if depression or anxiety co-exists. Painkillers for symptoms of backache, body-ache, headache etc. can be given for a short time.

Psychotherapy for Hysteria:

Psychotherapy is useful in encouraging the person to go through life daily with a positive attitude. Once the person develops coping strategies, his mind will stop converting the mental disturbance into a physical symptom, which is seen in somatization disorder.

Psychotherapy consists of a series of techniques for treating mental health, emotional and some psychiatric disorders. Psychotherapy helps the patient understand what helps them feel positive or anxious, as well as accepting their strong and weak points. If people can identify their feelings and ways of thinking they become better at coping with difficult situations.

Hypnotherapy for Hysteria:

The term "hypnosis" comes from the Greek word Hypnos, meaning "sleep." Hypnotherapists use exercises that bring about deep relaxation and an altered state of consciousness, also known as a trance. A person in a deeply focused state is unusually responsive to an idea or image, but this does not mean that a hypnotist can control the person's mind and free will. On the contrary, hypnosis can actually teach people how to master their own states of awareness. By doing so they can affect their own bodily functions and psychological responses.

Hypnotherapy is a kind of psychotherapy.  Hypnotherapy aims to re-programmed patterns of behavior within the mind, enabling irrational fears, phobias, negative thoughts and suppressed emotions to be overcome.

Homeopathic Treatment of Hysteria:

Homeopathy is one of the most popular holistic systems of medicine. The selection of remedy is based upon the theory of individualization and symptoms similarity by using holistic approach. 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. The aim of homeopathy is not only to treat but to address its underlying cause and individual susceptibility.

There are a wide number of homeopathic remedies that can help relieve the symptoms of hysteria. Each remedy depends on the type and severity of the symptoms. Homeopathy as special remedies for personality types and can be selected based on traits which helps patient improve nicely.

Self-care Measures for Hysteria:

Walk Around: The act of walking is surprisingly calming. Staying in one place makes it easier for your thoughts and symptoms to run wild. Ideally, you need to try to get walking to help stimulate blood flow, improve breathing, and create natural distractions that come from the sensations of walking.

Call Someone: Talking to someone on the phone can actually be very beneficial for decreasing hysteria. In some cases it can be even better than talking to someone in person, because in person some people feel more embarrassed and pressured about their anxiety while on the phone that embarrassment tends to decrease. Talking to someone on the phone takes a surprising amount of brain power, which means that you're taking your mind off of your anxiety while also listening to a calming voice on the other end of the phone.

Yell: Sometimes letting that emotion out is very important, and sometimes the best way to do that is to let out a great, loud yell. It's a way of accepting your emotions and stimulating your blood and energy. Obviously you should make sure that no one is around (otherwise you may scare someone), but letting out a good, loud yell can make you feel better.