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A Journal on Psychiatry, Psychology and Psychopharmacology

Official Journal of the Italian Society of Social Psychiatry
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Minerva Psichiatrica 2010 December;51(4):293-8


language: English

Hysteria: obsolete or actual disease?

Colombini C. 1, Panunzi S. 1, Carratelli T. J. 2

1 Reparto di Day Hospital della, Unità Operativa Complessa, Dipartimento di Neuropsichiatria Infantile A Università “La Sapienza”, Roma, Italia 2 Dipartimento di Scienze Neurologiche Psichiatriche e Riabilitative dell’Età Evolutiva Università “La Sapienza”, Roma, Italia


In the following review we have examined clinical implications, which came to us from the recent searches about hysteria, the relating diagnostic cathegories indicated from the most recent edition of the DSM-IV-TR (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) and from the ICD-X (Classificazione internazionale delle sindromi e dei disturbi psichici e comportamentali) and about some interesting thesis proposals by distinguished authors. The DSM-IV no longer considers hysteria, classically understood, and devided hysteria into two diagnostic categories, the conversion disorder and dissociative disorders, and a personality disorder, or histrionic personality disorder. Particular attention is directed to the more current expression of hysteria, or to conversion disorders, in their various symptomatic nuances, considering both the most frequently performed symptoms of hysterical conversion, and the less common and popular symptoms. Is taken into consideration the epidemiology of hysteric symptomatology of conversion desorders, the prevalence of gender, exposing the different and probable motivation making hysteria a contemporary disorder. This review illustrates the most characteristic traits of hysteric personality, from the projective identification, the theatricality and the seductiveness of the behavior, to the so named “belle indifferénce”, or the apparent lack of interest to their symptoms. With regards to the “belle indifferénce”, be presented the various reasons that make this symptom a fondamental characteristic and with topical, inside most fundamental events, of the conversion disorder.

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