Examining Hysterical Disorders: Interpretation and Pathomorphosis


The Serbsky Federal Research Center for Psychiatry and Narcology, Department of borderline Psychiatry, Moscow, Russia


In this presentation, we survey the range of past and present findings of hysteria, “Disease of Women”, by psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, and scholars in gender studies. In the second half of the presentation, long-term and multidisciplinary trial of hysteria pathomorphosis included 754 patients treated in mental and general hospitals in 1935-1998; 2016 was presented. The presentation’s strength lies in its being a comprehensive study that avoids singular or narrow interpretations. The pathomorphosis is characterized by reduction of psychotic, dissociative hysterical disorders, their lower acuteness and transformation into somatic equivalents. For hysteria, high-obligatory are hysteroneurotic (pseudoneurological, pseudosomatic), personality disorders and, partially, dissociative. Variability of manifestations suggests great reserves in transformation of hysteria. That affords a comprehensive mapping of recent avenues of inquiry, evaluating the work of scholars (through its diverse appearances in the psychiatric, neurological, and feminist literatures) who have contributed over the past 20 years to the revival of inquiry into hysteria.