Science topic

Hysteria - Science topic

Hysteria is a historical term for a chronic, but fluctuating, disorder beginning in early life and characterized by recurrent and multiple somatic complaints not apparently due to physical illness. This diagnosis is not used in contemporary practice.
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Two basic types of reactions were designated by Ernst Kretschmer as "biological radicals": “Totstellreflex” (feigning death) and “Bewegungssturm” (motion storm), published in 1923: "Hysterie, Reflex und Instinkt", Thieme, Leipzig), sometimes also called “hysterical hypokinesis and hyperkinesis” (Svorad, D:.AMA Arch Neur Psych 1957;77(5):533-539).
Thanatosis in spiders and insects, “playing possum, can often work”, serving as a protection strategy and “changing with external or internal conditions”. (Map of Life - University of Cambridge: http://www.mapoflife.org/topics/topic_368), see attachment.
Ich would like to know more about this fascinating phenomenon.
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Alexander Uspensky worked his way up from a seminarian and a policeman to a deputy commandant of the Moscow Kremlin and a high-ranking NKVD officer. During his career, he managed to work in the Urals, in Siberia, in the Ukrainian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic and received ill fame even in the punitive organs.
In 1938 he received a further promotion - transfer to Moscow. But it is unlikely that Ouspensky was happy about this - such "promotions" almost always meant a quick arrest and execution. So he faked his own suicide by writing a suicide note with the words: "Look for a corpse in the Dnieper." His tunic and cap were found in the river, so at first he was really mistaken for the deceased.
Ouspensky fled to Voronezh, where he lived according to previously prepared forged documents and pretended to be a worker named Ivan Shmashkovsky. But the deception was revealed and the fugitive was detained, after which he was shot.
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We live in an age of fear. The hysterical responses to the coronavirus corroborate a whole range of additional fears: fear of the implications of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, fear of growing older, fear of loneliness, fear of death, fear of an uncertain future. Everybody is affected but there are hardly any meaningful attempts to deal effectively with these fears.
In my theoretical and practical work on Emotional Intelligence, I have learnt that the most effective way of dealing with fear is to face it. Precisely! We must learn to face our fears.
Most people believe that our emotions should not be indulged. But the current hysteria about buying up tons of toilet paper and gallons of hand sanitizer can be explained as an effect of trying to suppress our emotions, particularly our fears. As a result, we are in danger of losing what is most precious: friendships and human connections.
It is high time to think of productive ways of managing our fears: if we learn to admit openly that we are terrified of losing everything that makes life worth living, we can create new ways of connecting with other human beings. As a result, we are able to deal better with the things that worry and frighten us.
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Fear
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The symptoms described by Freud were : episodic episodes of "psychosomatic" dyspnea, cough, afonia (without a medical explanation and then " conversion" symptoms ) but also : depression, " hysterical "
social withdrawal, and "taedium vitae" ( i.e. for the modern " emptiness" ? )
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No - in that the history of Borderline/Borderland (WA White 1912) shows it to be a " diagnostic waste bucket" for persons unaware of E Minkowski's work on structure (1924). Conversion points to hysteria - no more but no less.
David F Allen
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Could one use the Deborah number to model quantitatively a collective behavior change, and measure the rate of change of behavior? Can one use the Deborah number to represent start-up success expectation, or behavior unsteadiness, before reaching a new steady state? For example, to predict and improve the successful penetration of a new collective idea, such as a new business model?
The question is asked in the context I presented earlier in this forum [1], the new theory of physics of fluids applied to collective behavior (called PFCB theory). 
In the physics of fluids, the Deborah number is nondimensional, and was named after the Prophetess Deborah. In the Book of Judges, she said, “The mountains flowed before the Lord”.  The original definition was given by Reiner [2], writing verbatim,
“Deborah knew two things.  First, that the mountains flow, as everything flows. But, secondly, that they flowed before the Lord, and not before man, for the simple reason that man in his short lifetime cannot see them flowing, while the time of observation of God is infinite."
Then, Reiner found useful to define a nondimensional number, called the Deborah number, as De = time of relaxation/time of observation.
Today, De is defined as λ / T, where T is a characteristic time for the deformation process  (e.g., the time of observation of the change), and λ is still the relaxation time. In other words, one inherently assumes today that the material must be experiencing a deformation over this time, and the simplicity of Reiner's definition remains valid [3].
Thus, in terms of PFCB [1], at low Deborah numbers we would expect more potential for collective behavior (i.e., more fluidlike), unless the collective is in steady-state (e.g., even though De is zero in such case).
To induce change in a collective, such as a new business model, it seems to work better to disrupt the previous collective behavior first, or use a disruptive force that manifests itself, to then apply the change desired. It should be  harder to change a society while that society is stable at a previous behavior. In business terms, it should work better actively (or, to wait) to disrupt first ...and then innovate.
Cheers,  Ed Gerck 
[2] Reiner, M., “The Deborah number”. Phys. Today. 17, p. 62, 1964.
[3] Poole, R. J. (2012), The Deborah and Weissenberg numbers. The British Society of Rheology, Rheology Bulletin. 53(2) p. 32-39, and
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Hello Dennis,
You wrote about ' the case that a "new business model" is developed to fill in the "gaps" that are recognized in the old business model'.
In this case, gaps will likely exist (e.g., faults or opportunities are recognized), but are not always useful. For example, the cost of doing nothing is acceptable; or a fraud becomes a sale (as in car theft, as seen by car manufacturers); or market failure (corruption, or due to oligarchs). 
For the gap to be useful marketwise, you may also look for (a) an existing (albeit known or not by others) disruption; (b) a disruption created as part of your innovation; ( c) no prior disruption at all; (d) a mixture of these cases, as intersubjectively seen by different observers; or (e) any other case, such as the incumbent offering a "free lunch" to pick-up customers.
The question asks, in general, why would the innovation  (change) be naturally difficult, and how to improve the odds to change.
As the context with the PFACB theory shows, we know in the analogy in the physics of fluids, that a difficulty in chaging a stable system can be represented well by the Deborah number. Therefore,  mutatis mutandis, we expect that with collective behavior (now modelled as a liquid, not gas or solid), something analogous to the Deborah number will play a similar role. Moreover,  we expect the same analogy to help devise a way to improve the successful penetration of a new collective idea, such as a new business model.
Thus, in the PFACB theory, one predicts that option (a) above is more efficient and more likely to succeed, compared with the options b-e. You are still filling the gaps, but you're better of if you are not at the same time creating the gaps (and maybe failing in sustaining them). The analogous forces studied in physics of fluids will rather create a counter-reaction to your efforts, if the sytem is stable.
In other words, there is a systemic reason for the stability. So, your best bet is to first promote or use a disruption, even unrelated, if a disruption is to take hold. This way, the probability of failure reduces to zero for the disruption (already happened!), and your only risk is innovation. 
Cheers, Ed Gerck 
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Forms of collective behavior include electrons, photons, elections, crowds, mobs, panics, terrorism acts, disaster behavior, rumors, mass hysteria, moral panics, and fads and crazes, which can be spontaneous or not. An example of stimulated (non-spontaneous, organized) collective behavior is of a social movement, designed to bring about or resist change in society.
Could collective behavior, as defined above, be modelled, mutatis mutandis (making necessary alterations while not affecting the main point at issue), by the physics of fluids? Do you know of any reference or project in this area?
For example, the viscosity of a fluid is a measure of its resistance to gradual deformation by shear stress, expressing its resistance to shearing flows, where adjacent layers move parallel to each other with different speeds. It is known that gels or fluids that are thick, or viscous, under static conditions will thin (less viscous), stay the same, or thicken more over time when shaken, agitated, sheared or otherwise stressed, with time-dependent behavior (memory) or not, as described in physics of fluids. This behavior can be quite sudden, cumulative, and at first-sight surprising or catastrophic.
NOTE: This new theory of physics of fluids applied to collective behavior is hereafter more simply called "PFACB theory" or "PCB Theory".
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Hello all,
I want to reflect on two private comments.
1. Why would a fluid model be better than a gas model for a socio-economic model of collectives?
Because a gas model would lead to a statistical treatment, while the fluid model can lead to a cause-effect model without obscuring the cause and maintaing the causation model by the conservation laws:
  • Conservation of mass
  • Conservation of energy
  • Conservation of momentum
and others, explicitly.
2. What could be shear stress in this treatment? 
In physics, it is of the same dimension as pressure. But while pressure causes compression, shear stress causes shear. You could think of it as in effect following the force direction, as an open box sitting on a horizontal, rough table (with friction) and receiving a force parallel to the table, on top of the box. Better yet, shear stress is the component of stress coplanar with a desired material cross section; shear stress arises from the force vector component parallel to that cross section. In the socio-economic case, shear stress is not just in the direction of a component of force applied on the element, but still in the direction of a component of force; in the "open box on the table" example above, the shear stress is perpendicular to the table surface, not in the direction of gravity (the table surface is  horizontal) force, but to the applied force that is perpendicular to the table top.
In a fluid, shear stress is defined as a force per unit area, acting parallel to an infinitesimal surface element. Shear stress is primarily caused by friction between fluid particles, due to fluid viscosity.
Cheers, Ed Gerck 
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Does any history of psychiatry in australia include references to Jean-Martin Charcot's work in hysteria? Was his nosology practiced in Australia.? Was it directly sourced or was it filtered through the work of Hughlings Jackson or others? 
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You could look at the work of Robert Kaplan, particularly his biographical writings on Reg Ellery, who helped pioneer Freudian psychiatry in Australia, among other things.
and he did a full length book on Ellery too.
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Decades ago hysteria was excluded from the official diagnostic manuals and dismembered in several categories. However, from a psychodynamic point of view, it is a model of psychic functioning, and as such, present in the daily clinical practice as the basis of pathological events, both psychic and somatic. From psychoanalysis, it is understood that any psychic symptom should be approached in its fundamentals, rather than in their outward manifestations, and that the disregard of those hysterical grounds contributes to mistaken clinical strategies with losses for both the patient and therapist. And you, how do you understand this question?
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The answer is yes, I deal with Hysteria in my clinical practice, but as mentioned by Ariane, in the last decades it's psychopathological status has changed in main streem diagnostic manual tending to atomise (conversion disorder, dissociative amnesia, histrionic personality disorder, etc). About the controversy of Hysteria having changed, I believe it has changed less than it has been proposed: what has changed over years is the clinical eye (or ear) of clinicians. I've treated cases with limb paralisis, psychological pregnancy and dissociative fugues: sometimes these symptoms are hidden behind assumed medical diagnoses or behind the belle indiference, that is, the patient doesn't consider it important, so it doesn't report it.