Hysteria is a form of mental illness attributed to the only woman. The catch-all condition’s symptoms included, but were not limited to nervousness, fatigue, emotional outbursts, changes in the libido, and beyond.
The practice of labeling woman “crazy” has been happening for thousands of years and has been pretty well tolerated by most of the society deep.
To make it clear, here are some of weirdest things people used to believe about “female hysteria”
- Egyptian texts dating as far back as 1900 BC argued that hysterical disorders in women were caused by their wombs abnormally moving throughout their bodies. The ancient Greeks believed it, too.
- In the 5th century BC, Hippocrates (i.e., the founder of western medicine) first coined the term “hysteria” — from “hystera,” or uterus — and also attributed its cause to the unusual wandering of the womb in a woman’s body.
- In the 1600s, influential British physician, Thomas Sydenham, declared that female hysteria was the second most common disease of the time, just behind fever which he attributed to “irregular motions of the animal spirits.”
- The massaging of a woman’s pelvis (i.e., her genitals) was embraced by many health experts as the cure for female hysteria, resulting in “hysterical paroxysm,” or orgasm.
- The first steam-powered vibrator was called the “Manipulator” which was invented by American physician George Taylor in 1869 to provide more reliable and efficient physical therapy to women believed to be suffering from hysteria. In other words, it was not yet used privately for pleasure or viewed as a sexual instrument.
- High-pressure showers or hoses were also used to treat hysteria. In extreme cases, women were forced to enter into an insane asylum or undergo a surgical hysterectomy.
- Today, different manifestations of hysteria are recognized in other conditions, including schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, conversion disorder, and anxiety attacks.