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The Diagnosis of Hysteria: An Overview
PAUL CHODOFF
Am J Psychiatry 1974;131:1073-1078.
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Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, George Washington University School of Medicine. He is also in private practice at 1904 R St. N.W., Washington. D.C. 20009

1974, The American Psychiatric Association

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Abstract

The author outlines the three predominant conceptualizations of hysteria: that described by Briquet in 1859 and revived by current researchers; hysteria as a conversion symptom; and the idea of the hysterical personality. He also reviews psychoanalytic conceptualizations of hysteria—especially the idea of hysteria as the result of repressed sexuality—and presents explanatory models alternative to them. Although there is great confusion about the diagnosis of hysteria, he concludes that the term itself is valuable for psychiatry. Suggestions for clarifying the concept include separating Briquet's hysteria and what has been termed the "hysterical personality" from their identification with hysteria and using the term in the diagnosis of hysterical conversion symptoms.

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