27 Pages

Essay on the Physiological Concept of the Symptomatology of Hysteria52

WithIvan P. Pavlov

Concerning the general concepts of hysteria held by the clinicians, some of them give a fundamental general characteristic of the pathological state and some bring forward certain particularly pronounced traits or symptoms of this state. Some clinicians speak, as it were, of a return to instinctive, i.e., emotional and even reflex life; others attribute the disorder to suggestibility, explaining the entire behaviour of hysterical persons and the so-called stigmata of hysteria (analgesia, paralyses, etc.) by suggestion and autosuggestion. In this chapter Pavlov makes a deep physiological analysis of all the most characteristic symptoms of hysteria, the acute hysterical reactions, as well as the hysterical traits of the personality. He offers a physiological explanation of hysterical nosophilia, the so-called “escape into disease” of the hysteriacs not infrequently superficially interpreted as manifestation of simulation. According to Pavlov, this presumably deliberate behaviour of hysteriacs is determined by conditioned reflexes and is a case of fatal physiological relations.