Hysteria (Briquet's syndrome) is a frequent disorder among psychiatric inpatients. Depressed mood, often complicated by alcohol or drug abuse or suicidal behavior, is the usual reason for admission. Cross-sectionally, the depressive symptoms of these patients resemble those of patients with primary depressions, although the two groups differ markedly in past medical history. Patients with hysteria are less likely to receive ECT, however. The authors discuss the significance of this form of secondary affective disorder.