Multiple sclerosis and hysteria. Lessons learned from their association

JAMA. 1980 Jun 20;243(23):2418-21.


Four patients with organic neurological disease (multiple sclerosis) had additional major hysterical disability. Patients with unequivocal organic disease often have coexistent psychological disturbances. The preexisting personality, nature of the organic disease and its disability, and the psychosocial setting interact and create an illness whose components are difficult to separate. In some patients there are definite secondary gains from an illness. The combination of hysteria and multiple sclerosis serves as a model for the coexistence of organic and psychological disorders; it serves as an example of the general questions of how the sick deal with their infirmities and how the physician comprehensively deals with illness.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hysteria / complications*
  • Hysteria / psychology
  • Multiple Sclerosis / complications*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / etiology
  • Multiple Sclerosis / psychology
  • Psychophysiologic Disorders / psychology
  • Self Concept