Research links 'hysterical' illness to brain abnormalities

March 1, 2013

A new study has found that people with psychogenic diseases — formerly known as 'hysterical' illness because they have severe symptoms with no physical explanation — have abnormalities in the brain that might help explain the phenomenon.

On the surface, psychogenic diseases look like brain, muscle or nerve damage, or genetic nervous system disease. But upon closer inspection, there is no apparent physical cause. Even though patients are often in severe pain, doctors have trouble treating them.