So what did hysteria look like? Symptoms of the illness included partial paralysis, hallucinations, and nervousness. The term is thought to originate from ancient Greek physician Hippocrates, who associated these symptoms with the movement of a woman's uterus throughout different locations in the body. Ancient thinkers believed that a woman's uterus could travel freely through different areas of the body, often resulting in different symptoms and ailments based upon its travels. The term hysteria itself stems from the Greek hystera , which means uterus.
Hysteroid dysphoria has been described as a chronic illness characterized by recurrent periods of depression precipitated by a specific type of stress and associated with a histrionic personality. In addition, there are specific atypical symptoms. The authors tested the syndromal validity of this proposed category in a sample of 1,324 patients with mild depression reported on by psychiatrists in a questionnaire survey. They found 41 (%) who fit a pattern consisting of the basic features of the condition. However, patients who fit this pattern were not more likely to have substantially more atypical symptoms than patients without this pattern. The authors conclude that the syndromal validity of hysteroid dysphoria is not supported.