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pressed juice intermixed with an equal quantity of spirit Spec. VII.

Spec. I. of wine which gives a white coagulum resembling creme Syspasia of fine pomatum, that has a weak but penetrating taste,

9 Convulsion. and was supposed, from its ready evaporation, to contain Treatment. a considerable portion of volatile alkaline salt. Pereboom * applauds its tonic and antispasmodic virtues in this state, and for further instances of its fancied power the reader may consult the German Journals of Natural Curiosities. The missletoe has rarely been employed in Viscus

quernus, or our own country, except by Dr. Home, who thought he missletoe. found it serviceable ; though it is chiefly indebted for its fame as a specific in convulsions, to the practice and writings of Colbatch f. It has been given in powder, infusion, and extract.

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HYSTERIA, from ürtépa, " the uterus or vulva”, or more Gen. VII.

SPEC. II. correctly “viscus posterius vel inferius”, evidently imported in an early period of medical science, some mis- generic affection of the womb or other sexual organ : and hence hysteria, among the Greeks and Romans, was also a term by which female midwives were denominated, or those who especially attended to affections of the hysteria or

* N. Act. Cur. vii. Obs. 4.

+ See also Diss. sur la Gui de Chène, Remède Spécifique pour les Maladies Convulsives. Paris, 1719.



Gen. VII. womb. The Latin term uterus, although it approaches Spec. II.

it in sense and sound, is altogether of a different origin, Syspasia Hysteria. For this has a direct reference to the use and figure of

the uterus as a single organ, and is an immediate deriva

tion from uter, a bag or bottle. Usually

With a morbid condition of this organ, indeed, hysteria though not

is in many instances very closely connected, though it is. nected with going too far to say that it is always dependent upon such a morbid condition of condition : for we meet with instances occasionally in the uterus. which no possible connexion can be traced between the

disease and the organ; and sometimes witness it in males Often con

as decidedly as in females. It has been contended by with hypo various writers, that in this last case, the disease ought chondrism.

to be called hypochondrism, the HYPOCHONDRIAS of the present work ; and that hysteria and hypochondrias are merely modifications of a common complaint. Nothing however, can be more erroneous. These two diseases have

often a few similar symptoms, and more particularly those e of dyspepsy; but they are strictly distinct maladies, and

are characterised by signs that are peculiarly their own. The convulsive struggling paroxysms, the sense of a suffocating ball in the throat, the fickleness of temper, and the copious and limpid urine, which are pathognomic to hysteria, have no necessary connexion with hypochondrias, and are never found in this disease when strictly simple and idiopathic. While, on the contrary, the sad and sullen countenance, the dejected spirits, and gloomy ideas that characteristically mark hypochondrias, have as little necessary connexion with hysteria, and are in direct opposition to its ordinary course. Hysteria is strictly a corporeal disease, hypochondrias a mental, though it commonly originates in corporeal organs, but organs that have a peculiar influence upon the mental faculties, and has not established itself till these participate in the morbid action. Hysteria is a disease of the irritative fibres, hypochondrias of the sentient: Hysteria is a disease of early life, hypochondrias of a later period. Both, however, are diseases of a highly nervous or excitable temperament, and, as such, may co-exist in the same individual: but so

Distinctive characters.



Period of

also may vertigo or cephalæa with either of them ; which Gen. VII. would nevertheless continue to be regarded as distinct s

Syspasia diseases, notwithstanding such an incidental conjunction. Hysteria. And hence Mieg *, and various other established wri

Hence the ters + upon the subject have not incorrectly, though per- hysteria haps unnecessarily, treated of the disorder before us under masculina

of Mieg as the two divisions of male and female hysteria, hysteria distinguishvirorum, or masculina, and hysteria fæminina. Swe- ed diaur, who affirms that man may labour under the hysteric passion as well as women, arranges this and hypochondrism as distinct species of a common genus, to Hyperkiwhich, with his extravagant fondness for long Greek terms, nesia of

Swediaur. he has given the name of hyperkinesia. Hysteria, like all other clonic affections, shows itself

life and most frequently in mobile and irritable temperaments, and temperaparticularly during that period of life in which irritability when things is at its highest tide, as from the age of puberty to that teria mostly of thirty-five years, seldom appearing before the former,

Occasional and rarely after the latter of these terms. The common causes. occasional causes of convulsion, which we have already described, are also those of hysteria ; and hence, acrimonies of the stomach, or other abdominal organs, mental emotions, plethora, and particularly turgescence of the sexual region, are among the most frequent; on which account, we are told by Forestust, and Zacutus Lusitanus , that one of the most common causes of hysteria in males is a retention of semen, as one of its surest cures is an excretion.

As every thing, moreover, that disturbs the uniform current of the nervous fluid, or the ordinary diameter of the blood-vessels or cavity of the heart, becomes a powerful irritant, we may also see why this disease should occur on debilitating, and especially sudden evacuations, and be at no loss to account for its appearing on excessive as well as on suppressed menstruation, and consequently in leu


* Epistolæ ad Hallerum scriptæ, No. v.

+ Eph. Nat. Cur. Dec. 11. Ann. iv. Obs. 18, 61. Traité Nouveau de Médi. cine, &c. Lions, 1684.

Observ, et Curat. Medic. Libr. xxvii. Obs. 29, 33. $ De Praxi Admirandâ, Libr. 11. Obs. $5.

Gen. VII. corrhoea. And as the sexual organs lose much of their
Spec. II.

orgasm during the period of parturition, we may also see Hysteria. why the disease should attack barren rather than breeding Hysterics.

women, particularly young widows, who are cut off from the means of exhaustion they formerly enjoyed ; and, more especially still, those who are constitutionally inclined to that morbid salacity, which has often been called nymphomania, and, in the present work, will be found under

the genus LAGNESIS. Pathology. I have already endeavoured to show by what means, in

a habit of great nervous irritability, both clonic and entastic or rigid spasms are produced; and the disposition there frequently exists for them to pass into each other or to alternate in rapid succession. And we have also seen that the former is most predominant in laxer, and more mobile, and the latter in firmer and more vigorous constitutions. There is no frame, however, that may not become a prey to spasmodic action of some kind or other, and hence, there is no frame that may not become a prey,

under particular circumstances, to the species of spasmodic Why some.

ne action we are now describing. These circumstances are times of a clonic cha- very generally concealed from us ; but we uniformly perracter and

ceive that the rule we have now adverted to holds true ; of a spastic. and that the hysteric spasms will assume more or less of Hence the

a clonic, or of a spastic character, in proportion as the individual is of a more relaxed or a more vigorous make. And hence the most violent, though the least common, instances of hysteric struggle that occur to us, are in young women of the most robust and masculine consti

tution. Paroxysm The paroxysm often takes place without any previous generally without any

Any warning or manifest excitement whatever, and especially previous where it has established itself by a frequency of recurwarning: sometimes

rence. Occasionally, however, we have a few precursive precursive signs which rarely show themselves in vain : as a sense of signs. Signs de nausea or sickness, flatulency, palpitation of the heart, scribed.

depression of spirits, and sudden bursts of tears without any assignable cause, showing a disturbance in the secretion, or distribution of the nervous power. The fit soon


last most common to robust constituie






succeeds with a coldness and shivering over the whole Gen. VII.

c Spec. II. body, a quick fluttering pulse, and an acute feeling of Sustasia pain in the head as though a nail were driven into it. The Hysteria, flatulency from the stomach or colon rises in the sensation

Commenceof a suffocating ball into the throat, and forms what is ment and known by the name of globus hystericus. The convulsive progress of struggle now commences, which in women of very mobile fibres is sometimes very feeble, the relaxant alternations prevailing over the contractile: but in other cases is prodigiously violent, evincing during the contractions a rigidity as firm as in tetanus, and a force that overcomes all opposition. The trunk of the body is twisted backward and forward, the limbs are variously agitated, and the fists are closed so firmly that it is difficult, if not impossible, to open the fingers; and the breast is violently and spasmodically beaten. An equal spasm takes place in the sphinc- Sphincter ter ani; so that it is often found impracticable to introduce ani

impervia clyster pipe; and the urine discharged, though copious, ously conis colourless. The muscles of the chest and trachea are tr agitated in every way, and hence, there is an involuntary utterance of shrieks, screams, laughing, and crying, ac- Whence cording to the direction the spasm takes, sometimes accompanied with, or succeeded by a most obstinate and distress- and fits of ing fit of hiccough. When the fit ceases the patient ap- langt

laughing: pears to be quite spent, and lies stupid and apparently lifeless. Yet in an hour or two, or often much less, she I

· Sne of the paroxperfectly recovers her strength, and has no other feeling ysm. that that of a general soreness, and perhaps some degree of pain in the head. It is rarely, indeed, that an hysteric fit becomes dangerous; though it has in a few instances terminated in epilepsy or insanity.

Fickleness The definition asserts that the temper is fickle; this is Fi

of temper not to be wondered at; for, in the hysteric temperament, how acthe irregular and clonic flow of the irritative fluid is com- counte municated, by sympathy, to all the sensorial fluids; and in consequence the mind is as unsteady as the muscles: “ and from hence," observes the sagacious Burton, who Description

w of the hyshas painted strongly, but from the life,“ proceed a brutish ter kind of dotage, troublesome sleep, terrible dreams, a fool- perament.

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