(2001). Recovering hysteria from history: Herodotus and “the first case of shell shock”.
In: Halligan, Peter; Bass, Christopher and Marshall, John eds.
Contemporary Approaches to the Science of Hysteria: Clinical and Theoretical Perspectives.
Oxford University Press, pp. 36–48.
[About the book]
Patients with striking physical symptoms suggestive of a neurological disease, but no evidence of nervous system damage are typically labelled as suffering from "hysterical conversion". Despite claims that conversion disorders have disappeared from clinical practice, patients with conversion symptoms continue to present diagnostic conundrums to clinicians. The disorder accounts for 4% of all referrals to neurology services.
This book covers aspects neglected by previous works on this controversial condition, moving away from traditional historico-sociological accounts towards neuroscientific theories about the causes and categorization of hysteria. Recent investigations using functional imaging and hypnosis are covered, as are the neuropsychological accounts inspired by them, alongside more traditional psychodynamic accounts. A section on medico-legal aspects is innovative and timely. The key causal role of life events is also addressed, along with the influence of military conflict and culture in shaping and modifying clinical presentations, and changes in physical manifestations of hysteria through the centuries.
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