Publication Type:
Journal Article
Clinical Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, 2001, 2 (4), pp. 221 - 227
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Hysteria was once a serious psychological syndrome, but nowadays in the West, this disease category is never used. TCM literature available in English, however, often mentions hysteria and a number of other obsolete syndromes. Commentators on the development of Chinese medicine in modern times have noted a level of theoretical incoherence the explanation of which is no doubt complex, but in this case is certainly influenced by the Westernization of Chinese psychiatry that has taken place since the early 1900s. The timing of China's adoption of Western sciences and the systematizing of its indigenous medical tradition from the early 20th century is coincidental with a peak of interest and investigation of hysteria occurring in the West at that time. In the last 100 years, advances in Western psychology have led to many nosological developments; but students and practitioners of TCM in the West are still reading about (or possibly just overlooking) a disease whose name is not unfamiliar but whose meaning in terms of clinical presentations and implications is misunderstood, distorted, or simply unknown to them. A brief review of the ways hysteria has been presented in Western and Chinese medical texts is given in an effort to decipher a clinical picture of the syndrome and its relevance, if any, for modern TCM practice. © 2001 Harcourt Publishers Ltd.
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