Mass hysteria rare, but usually seen in girls

Posted on February 3rd, 2012 by

Fifteen teenage girls report a mysterious outbreak of spasms, tics and seizures in upstate New York. But tests find nothing physically wrong. Scores of adults in Northern California report crawling skin sensations and other bizarre symptoms. Government doctors find no physical cause after an extensive study. The conclusion by experts is that these are just the latest examples of what used to be called mass hysteria. Now known as conversion disorder, sufferers experience real, but psychologically triggered symptoms. Some specialists argue it doesn't fit in that category. Some believe Morgellons is a form of psychosis. Others insist these patients are not psychotic, but suffer from a less severe kind of psychological disorder which isn't well understood yet. Also, at least some of the Morgellons patients probably don't have a psychological problem at all, said Dr. J. Michael Bostwick, a psychiatrist at Mayo Clinic who has studied delusions of infestation.

Wall Street Journal (AP), by Mike Stobbe, 02/02/2012

Additional coverage: Star Tribune , Metro Calgary

Tags: delusions of infestation, Dr. J. Michael Bostwick, Morgellons, Psychology and Psychiatry, psychosis, Research

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