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Conversion hysteria


Hysteria is a neurosis, a psychiatric disorder characterized by behavioral problems, where a psychic conflict is manifested through physical signs, phobias and emotional crises. Conversion hysteria is a variety of hysteria. It occurs due to psychological changes. Conversion is defined by Freud as a transformation of psychic symptoms into physical conflict.


Conversion hysteria manifests itself as follows:
  • A lump in the throat;
  • visual disturbances;
  • palpitations;
  • pain;
  • disorders of sensitivity or paralysis;
  • sensory disturbances;
  • immobilization of the body;
  • a more or less complete loss of the ability to walk;
  • muscle weakness.

These symptoms are usually chronic. Meanwhile, periodic and intense symptoms can occur in the form of crises like seizures, fainting or faintness and panic attacks. They usually occur in public.


To diagnose, the psychoanalyst refers not only to physical signs, but also and especially to the mode of occurrence of these signs. The subjectivity of the latter and the lack of a clear answer by clinical examination or even by further examination of possible pathologies that could explain a patient's troubles strongly suggest the existence of conversion hysteria. The patients will have a sort theatrical manner, be very self-centered, will like to please and seduce, to be loved or appreciated, and will be emotionally fragile and intolerant to frustration.


The treatment of conversion hysteria occurs through a stable, steady and reassuring therapeutic relationship. Psychotherapeutic care is needed.

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