Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

Living Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming

Hysteria

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27771-9_9115-1

Hysteria, arguably the oldest neurosis in recorded medical history, dates back to an Egyptian medical papyrus written in about 1900 B.C. which noted that some curious behavioral changes were observed in women. The word itself derives from the Greek word “uterus” originating from the Sanskrit word for stomach or belly. The term reflects the ancient view on the nature and origin of the disease. The ancient Egyptians interpreted that the symptoms seen in women resulted from movement of the uterus “which they believed to be an autonomous, free-floating organism” (Micale 1995, p. 19). They thought that those bizarre symptoms occurred when the uterus moved upward and applied pressure on the diaphragm. The ancient Greeks shared the idea of a “wandering womb” adopting it as a migratory uterus, and established the connection between hysteria and an unsatisfactory sexual life. In the ancient period, figures such as Galen and Soranus suggested various views; however, it is appropriate to say...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access

Bibliography

  1. Arnauld, S. (2015). On hysteria: The invention of a medical category between 1670 and 1820. Chicago: Chicago University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Freud, S. (2000). Studies on hysteria. New York: Basic Booksç.Google Scholar
  3. Gilman, S. L. (Ed.). (2013). Hysteria beyond Freud. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  4. Levack, B. P. (2013). The devil within: Possession and exorcism in the Christian west. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Lewis, I. M. (1971). Ecstatic religion: A study of shamanism and spirit possession. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  6. Micale, M. S. (1995). Approaching hysteria: Disease and its interpretations. Princeton University Press: Princeton.Google Scholar
  7. Mitchell, J. (2000). Mad men and medusas: Reclaiming hysteria. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  8. Scull, A. (2009). Hysteria: The disturbing history. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of English Language and LiteratureArtvin Çoruh UniversityArtvinTurkey