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Hysteria and neurasthenia in pre-1914 British medical discourse and in histories of shell-shock

Loughran, Tracey Louise ORCID: 2008. Hysteria and neurasthenia in pre-1914 British medical discourse and in histories of shell-shock. History of Psychiatry 19 (1) , pp. 25-46. 10.1177/0957154X07077749

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Histories of shell-shock have argued that the diagnosis was subdivided into the categories hysteria and neurasthenia, and that the differential distribution and treatment of these diagnoses was shaped by class and gender expectations. These arguments depend on the presentation of hysteria and neurasthenia as opposed constructs in British medical discourse before 1914. An analysis of the framing of these diagnoses in British medical discourse c.1910—1914 demonstrates that hysteria and neurasthenia, although undergoing redefinition in these years, were closely connected through the designation of both as functional diseases, and the role attributed to heredity in each. Before the war these diagnoses were perceived as indicators of national decline. Continuity, as well as change, is evident in medical responses to shell-shock.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D204 Modern History
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Uncontrolled Keywords: anxiety neurosis; degeneration; hysteria; neurasthenia; shell-shock
Publisher: SAGE Publications
ISSN: 0957-154X
Last Modified: 18 Oct 2022 13:23

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