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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 62 (2020) 7, 549 - 554


Hysteria laryngea; First thesis in the Netherlands on hysteria (1849)

M. Vermeulen, E. van der Zee

background With the help of textbooks we may trace back the genesis of the concept functional neurological disorder in the Netherlands to the second half of the 19th century.
aim To extend this history to the first half of the 19th century.
method To study the thesis written in Latin defended in 1849 by F.S.R. Frima.
results Frima described a 24-year-old woman who in 1849 was admitted to a hospital in Groningen with the diagnosis hysterical attacks and hysteria laryngea. He compared this case with five similar cases from the international literature in which one of the authors used the term neurosis laryngis. A physician of the hospital changed the diagnose from hysterical attacks to epilepsy. After the description of his case Frima abandoned the name hysteria laryngea and used neurosis laryngis instead. He described neurosis laryngis as a nervous disorder without pathological abnormalities around the pharynx, caused by haemorrhages, intestinal diseases, affections of the soul (‘pathemata animi’) and, in women the main cause, hysteria. Frima did not use the terms ‘real’ symptom, somatic or mental disorder.
conclusion Symptoms of neurosis laryngis may occur in the absence of hysteria. Frima made no distinction between real or not real symptoms and not between somatic and mental disorders.

keywords conversion disorder, functional neurologic disorder, hysteria, hysteria laryngea, neurosis laryngis