The term hysteria among the ancient Greeks had reference to a disease primarily due to some abnormal state of the female generative organs. Even yet we assign a foremost place to the sexual elements in hysteria, but more as a symptom than as a cause of the disease. We find that the greater the number of cases we investigate the more we shall be impressed by the fact that a marked element of sexual perversion generally exists, at times so dominating the reasoning powers of the patient that he becomes firmly convinced that unless his sexual desire is indulged the community will suffer in some inexplicable manner. In a recent case I found this symptom strongly marked in connection with the habit of masturbation. As a rule the “delusional errors” of these patients are vague. They generally can be brought to admit that their ideas are erroneous; and their ability or otherwise to do this should, I think, bear much weight with regard to prognosis.
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