EPILEPSY, HYSTERIA, AND “POSSESSION” A HISTORICAL ESSAY


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Abstract

A historical essay is presented relating concepts of epilepsy, hysteria, and “possession.‘’ The designation “hysteroepilepsy‘’ is placed into the context of combined phenomena in individual subject instances. An association of psychotic states resembling a schizophrenic disorder is indicated as occurring in certain epileptic patients, especially some complex partial seizures (i.e., temporal lobe-psychomotor type). Phenomena of possession may appear within any of these entities.Differential diagnosis now is aided greatly by utilization of monitoring with combined split screen television viewing and recording of the patient's behavior and the concomitant electroencephalogram. Treatment is directed both medically and toward alleviation of contributing and precipitating psychological and sociological factors.

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