Definitions from Black's Law Dictionary: 2nd Edition and Ballentine's Law Dictionary as are available for each term in each dictionary.
  • Black's Law Dictionary: 2nd Edition

    A paroxysmal disease or disorder of the nervous system, more common in females than males, not originating in any anatomical lesion, due to psychic rather than physical causes, and attended, in the acute or convulsive form, by extraordinary manifestations of secondary effects of extreme nervousness. Hysteria is a state in which ideas control the body and produce morbid changes in its functions. Mœbius. A special psychic state, characterized by symptoms which can also be produced or reproduced by suggestion, and which can be treated by psychotherapy or persuasion, hysteric and hypnotic states being practically equivalent to each other. Babinski. A purely psychic or mental disorder due to hereditary predisposition. Charcot. A state resulting from a psychic lesion or nervous shock, leading to repression or aberration of the sexual instinct. Freud. Hysteria is much more common in women than in men, and was formerly thought to be due to some disorder of the uterus or sexual system; but it is now known that it may occur in men, in children, and in very aged persons of either sex. In the convulsive form of hysteria, commonly called "hysterics" or "a fit of hysterics," there is nervestorm characterized by loss or abandonment of self-controi in the expression of the emotions, particularly grief, by paroxysms of tears or laughter or bath together, sensations of constriction as of a ball rising In the throat (globus hystericus), convulsive movements in the chest, pelvis, and abdomen, sometimes leading to a fall with apparent unconsciousness, followed by a relapse into semiunconsciousness or catalepsy. In the non-con-vnisive forms, all kinds of organic paralyses may be simulated, as well as muscular contractions and spasms, tremor, loss of sensation (on-aesthesuj,) or exaggerated sensation (hyperœsthe-siaj, disturbances of respiration, disordered appetite, accelerated pulse, hemorrhages in the skin (stigmata), pain, swelling, or even dislocation of the joints, and great amenability to suggestion.
    —Hystero-epilepsy. See Epilepst.