Histrionic disorder and hysterical psychopathy are the causes of many problems in interpersonal relationships. Anyone can encounter a situation in his life, which will cause a hysterical reaction. It occurs when we cannot handle situation that has arisen reasonably and rationally and it can manifest as stiffness and inability to move or on the contrary as excessive and uncoordinated movements or desperate screams etc.
Such reactions are caused by a drastic experience and they will pass. However, if a person is being exposed to traumatizing experiences in a long-term, it can cause a hysterical neurosis, which manifests itself with spasms and tremors.
Hysteria is very insidious, because the behaviour of a hysterical person can be perceived completely differently – as petulance, imperious behaviour, recalcitrance and high sensitivity. That is why hardly any layman can guess that these features and manifestations hide severe mental disorder, which is interfering with family, partner and work relationships.
Definition of hysteria
In modern psychology, hysteria is defined as a psychological condition with unstable emotivity and high sensitivity, with an inclination to primitive reactions, with a feeling of dissatisfaction and inner tension, which is causing the ill person to get rid of the unbearable tension. That is the reason why a hysterical person causes conflicts and arguments, which he or she accompanies with strong emotional effusions and theatrical scenes, with which he or she attracts the attention of its surroundings.
A hysterical person could have been taught these seizures in his childhood, when he or she was allowed to do what he or she wanted in case of such seizure and in his or her adulthood, he or she uses them as a means of getting his way. During a hysterical seizure, the person can truly be unable to control him or herself, and he or she can spasm, tremor, breathe fast and simulate an injury or sickness. This condition can be accompanied by migraines and various aches, which are psychosomatic in their nature, but the person in question is truly experiencing and feeling them at the moment.
- Hysterical psychopathy:hysteria is a part of the personality disorder, it manifests as a certain manner of acting and behaving – simulation, creation of schemes, significant deceitfulness
- Hysterical reaction:consequence of a drastic experience
- Hysterical neurosis:consequence of a long-term unsatisfying situation
History of hysteria
This disorder was first described by the father of medicine, Hippocrates. In Egyptian papyri, we can also find references to hysteria; at that time, physicians believed that these non-standard mental states in women were caused by movements of uterus within body. The physician then attempted to return the uterus into its original position using indirect approach, mostly by inhalations and fumigation. Galén, a famous physician, believed that hysteria is caused by insufficient sexual satisfaction. During the middle ages, these manifestations were sometimes confused for possession by a devil and the women were being accused of witchcraft. Paracelsus was the first one to classify hysteria as a mental disorder.
Sigmund Freud worked on the case of Anna O., one of the most famous cases of hysteria. Freud concluded that the signs of hysteria are caused by a traumatic event and that they cause physical symptoms. In the end, he has moved from the hypnotherapy to the method of reconstruction of suppressed memories through their explanation and the method of free association.
Hysterical behaviour in the adulthood tends to fixate and fully develop. The affected person is sure that his or her reactions and behaviour are right, because he or she has managed to achieve the desired goals. It is common to seek and enforce attention when it is not necessary or from people who cannot express the desired attention sufficiently. The affected person than punishes these people, which are usually close to her, by hurting them with insults and attacks to weak and sensitive places. He or she lowers their self-confidence, slanders them or mentally extorts them in various cunning ways.
The hysterical person presents him or herself as a person with a good character, always impeccable and moral. He or she demands other people to appreciate and accept these traits. To keep this reputation, the affected person lies without any shame, alters reality for his or her benefit and blames others for his or her failures. The consequences of such behaviour reflect especially at work, because such person is incapable of working in a group and often changes jobs.
While the ancient Greeks had a simple cure for hysteria – the moving uterus will either leave the body on its own or the woman gives birth to it together with a child – modern science believes that hysteria cannot be cured. It is only possible to alleviate its manifestations using a combination of psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy. Whoever would try to explain to hysterical person that he or she is sick and who would try to make him see a psychiatrist, this person who is trying to help can be sure that he or she will soon be demonstrated an exemplary hysterical scene.
Histrionic personality disorder
Hysteria, or also histrionic personality disorder, is a mental sickness connected to a personality disorder and it manifests itself with characteristic behaviour.
Histrionic personality disorder affects men more often then women. It usually starts during an irregular emotional experience – death of a close person, severe stress situation, existence problems etc. – a person with a tendency to hysteria will react excessively to these situations. The individual hysterical reactions will become fixed and after some time, the affected person is unable to act in other way than hysterically. The disorder usually manifests itself already during childhood in some part; children suffering from this disorder are reckless, orderless and negligible, can simulate various illnesses very plausibly and feel the need to be constantly in the centre of a group. Manifestations of hysteria usually peak around sixteen years of age, when the disorder already manifests itself in the full scale.
People suffering from histrionic personality disorder usually create very problematic relationships with parent of the same sex, they are overly emotional and lack shyness – thus they are not afraid of being mocked by society. Theatricality of reactions, certain level of exhibitionism, egocentrism, infantility and the need to be in the centre of attention are typical to the manifestations of hysteria – hysterical people can in some cases be extreme extroverts, who tell their surroundings even the most intimate details of their lives. However, these people are also easier to become manipulated by other people's opinions and they feel that other people judge them; this judgement they again fight with an excessive reaction, they tend to invent stories, to lie and to manipulate its surroundings. It is also not unusual for the affected person to style him or herself into the role of a “suffering” person – simulation of various illnesses, which can lead to a real somatic disease.
In partner relationships, hysterics tend to act very selfishly, demand constant love, display jealousy fits, constantly cause conflicts and point out the other person's flaws. It is generally deemed that the only way how not to create environment for a similar mental disorder is to terminate the relationship with the hysterical person or to resign completely.
It is important to state that hysteria truly is a mental illness – to the certain extent, the affected people cannot control their actions and the disorder can be treated only with help of a specialist.
Hysteria in children
Hysterical behaviour is innate to some extent, it is a disorder in specific parts of the brain and that is why we can perceive the signs already in small children. These children are often labelled by their surroundings as problematic, undisciplined and terrorizing their parents and peers alike. It is common for them to enforce the attention by screaming, loud crying, scenes, angry fits or by simulating an injury or an illness. Parents then tend to prevent these excesses by complying with the child's demands to ensure calm.
In the adulthood, this behaviour tends to become fixed. In addition, a person affected in this way assures him or herself that his or her reactions are the right ones, because they helped in achieving his or her goals and he or she does not realize that the people have complied with the demands in order to prevent nuisances.
Current modern science considers the hysteria an incurable disorder. It is only possible to alleviate its manifestations using pharmaceuticals and psychotherapy.
Histrionic personality disorder affects men more often then women. It usually manifests itself during irregular emotional experience, during death of a close person or a severe stress situation or in case of existence problems, vel similis. In time, the individual hysterical reactions will become fixed and the affected person is unable to act in other way than hysterically. People affected by histrionic disorder usually have very problematic relationships with parent of the same sex, lack shyness and they are overly emotional. Theatricality, exhibitionism, egocentrism, sexually provocative interactions with surroundings and infantility are typical for this disorder. On the other hand, strong susceptibility to manipulation of other people is also typical, and the affected people can become a tool of a manipulator.
However problematic, stressing and unpleasant the hysteria manifestations are for the hysteric's surroundings, it is necessary to realize that even the affected person has not got an easy life. A hysteric feels a large need for love, but at the same time, he or she is very afraid of it. In many cases, he or she has never experienced regular and real love. Dissociation of a hysteric is also very serious – the person is separated from himself, from his feelings and wishes. He or she is afraid of the experience of love and at the same time, he is afraid of not receiving love. It is not uncommon for him or her to move in a vicious circle of two extremes, where he or she is unable to love and on the other hand when he or she feels love to everyone. Permanent hunger and desire for love is enormous and it often feels as a burden to hysteric's surroundings.
Hysterics are permanently frustrated and scared that no one will ever love them. They carry this feeling already from their childhood. Narcissistic person is closing up when hurt, a hysteric is opening up. Hysterics might not even understand that they are often chasing after an ideal, which cannot be fulfilled.
Origins of hysteria can be found in the affected person's childhood
According to experts, the causes of development of histrionic personality disorder can be found in the affected person's childhood. Excessive love, no love or even combination of the above can be considered causes of the hysteria development.
Such a person is often looking for and desires admiration of other people in a belief that it is a real love. Even if he or she realized the error of his or her ways, they usually do not know how to resolve such situation. A hysteric needs to feel that he or she is being loved and accepted not because he or she does a lot of good for other people, does an excellent job and everybody begins to like him or her, but simply because he or she exists.
Such a person can only achieve true relief when he or she receives deep understanding and acceptance of his or her mistakes and an acceptance of him or herself in the way he or she is from his surroundings, friends, family and primarily from him or herself. It is quite surprising how helpful such a simple principle can be.
Do you want to get rid of stress, anxiety and hysteria?
Up to 80%, hysteria is caused by parenting and influence of close people up to 7 – 12 years of age. During that time, emotional settings, which will manifest themselves fully in puberty and in the adulthood in the form of hysteria are being created in the brain. Come to find out how to get rid of stress, anxiety and hysteria and how to get love and admiration which you desire so much not by a futile desire to change your surroundings, but by working on yourselves.