Pedra, Papel e Tesoura

3 de abril de 2018

Notes on “Studies on Hysteria”.

Filed under: Livros, Saúde e bem-estar — Tags:, , , — Yure @ 15:42

“Studies on Hysteria” was written by Sigmund Freud and Josef Breuer. Below are some thoughts found in that book.

  1. When discussing anecdotal evidence, a researcher must be careful to not give indentifying information about the subjects without their consent.
  2. Sexual repression may cause hysteria (see note 8).
  3. Two researchers working on a same project can still have diverging opinions on the same data.
  4. The book’s content is exploratory, rather than conclusive.
  5. Sometimes you can’t understand the origin of a patient’s hysteria just by asking them questions.
  6. Aggravated by the fact that every person has their secrets and not everyone is willing to tell everything to the doctor.
  7. Aggravated by the fact that not everyone is capable of recalling the event that caused it.
  8. Very often, it’s a bad childhood experience that causes hysteria (see note 2).
  9. A neurotic reaction may be caused by an event of low physical importance, but that, given the circunstances surrounding the act, left a strong negative impression on the person.
  10. For that to happen, the person must be very susceptible to third variables, assuming that the actual event didn’t have the potential to traumatize.
  11. A trauma can be caused by a flow of events, rather than a single event.
  12. Recovering from hysteria requires the patient to relive the original trauma in their memory and express it verbally while recalling.
  13. A traumatic memory doesn’t fade.
  14. A memory may have no negative charge if such charge was relieved when the event happened (example: if you were punched on the face, you would feel uncomfortable recalling the event, unless you punched back to discharge the energy immediately through revenge).
  15. Excess of discipline can make saints, nuns, chaste women and well-behaved children become ill.
  16. Hysteria can happen to people who are, otherwise, excellent in terms of critical thinking, willpower, intelligence and morality, which means that a hysterical person isn’t a “mad man” stereotype.
  17. It’s easy to remember by association.
  18. If hysteria has roots on a bad memory, then new experiences that bear resemblance to that memory may also cause a hysterical attack.
  19. If your family members have a history of psicological problems, you will likely have some in your lifetime.
  20. Critical thinking keeps you from being controlled by someone else.
  21. It’s not abnormal if a person has little to no sex drive.
  22. A person can put their own health at risk while caring for someone’s health.
  23. A person who is hallucinating sometimes knows that they are hallucinating.
  24. Sometimes, our fears cause more damage than the feared object.
  25. A traumatizing memory may summon a distraction in the person in order to prevent them from recalling (for example: making the person faint when trying to remember).
  26. Boredom may predispose a person to hysteria.
  27. A person can hypnotize themselves without knowing that it’s what they are doing.
  28. Some people can be hypnotized effortlessly.
  29. You can control your period with hypnosis.
  30. Reading in excess may be an attempt at distracting oneself from an internal struggle.
  31. There are many smaller “evils” that aren’t worth being punished.
  32. A person can become sick for worrying too much over a loved person’s health.
  33. You may hallucinate when exhausted.
  34. A patient can undo all progress achieved in therapy, if they so wish.
  35. It’s possible to abuse of hypnosis.
  36. Fear can exercise influence over your digestion.
  37. We shouldn’t think that everything is important; there are things that hold no importance.
  38. There are hysterical disorders and hysterical people.
  39. Hysterical symptoms are effects of a trauma.
  40. Phobias are one type of hysteria.
  41. A hysterical phobia can evolve into other hysterical manifestations if the person is subjected to the feared object repeated times.
  42. Neurotic people are scared of going mad.
  43. There are phobias that are not much of a hassle, despite being there.
  44. A pain that originates from the body may continue existing even after the cessation of the original cause, if the pain becomes associated with a neurosis.
  45. A person who is sleep-walking is open to sugestion.
  46. Suggestion not always works.
  47. Severe hysteria seems to require a certain genetical heritage.
  48. Having a predisposition to a certain disorder doesn’t automatically gives you that disorder.
  49. A “trigger” is needed.
  50. Solitude is a good trigger for some disorders.
  51. A person can live in a psychologically toxic environment and still remain sane, until a certain event breaks their defense.
  52. A lot of traumas are centered on sexual expression.
  53. Sexual repression causes mental exhaustion.
  54. A person can be severely hysterical and still excel in their intellectual or physical activities.
  55. A person who has a mental problem isn’t “disordered” if they manage to live decently despite it.
  56. Several people with mental disorders achieved more than the average healthy person.
  57. Having a mental disorder doesn’t make you a retard.
  58. Do not mistake effect for cause.
  59. Some people with mental disorders only suffer in private.
  60. Fighting a problem for a long time may cause more problems.
  61. Hypnosis doesn’t work with everyone.
  62. The patient must trust the therapist.
  63. Depending on the person, a hypnotic state can be achieved easier if that person doesn’t know that they are being hypnotized.
  64. A person can, with proper stimulation, recall what happened when they were in trance.
  65. It’s impossible to willingly forget something, no matter how much you want, no matter how much you try.
  66. It’s easier to be reminded of something than trying to recall on your own.
  67. We don’t choose to feel what we feel.
  68. Power disparity can keep a woman from engaging in a relationship with a man, if she feels that her position is inferior, implying that a person on the “losing end” of a power dynamic can feel that the relationship would be unfair… or immoral.
  69. Power disparity can make a person something in the lines of “why would he, who is so rich, want someone as poor as I am?”
  70. A poor woman being seen together with a rich man may be cause of embarrassment for either party.
  71. If you love her, treat her nicely.
  72. Being overly sensitive enhances the traumatic aspect of some memories.
  73. You can be in love with a person and still not do anything about it.
  74. To develop hysteria, you just need to be unlucky enough to have strong bad experiences and no way to relieve the tension they bring.
  75. A genetic disposition can only be completely proved after the potential evil actually goes in effect.
  76. Somatization is an attempt at taking something off your mind by putting it in your body.
  77. Maybe it has to do with something that you can not accept in yourself.
  78. A symptom can hide another.
  79. If a person has no reason to be ill and, nonetheless, is ill, it’s likely a psychological problem.
  80. Talking about your problems alleviates them.
  81. In a sex negative person, being object of someone’s lust may cause future trauma.
  82. There are people who are ashamed of every natural thing, such as sex.
  83. A sex negative person is easily traumatized by sexuality.
  84. Children who have contact with sexuality don’t usually become traumatized by it at the moment it happens, but, depending on their sexual upbringing, they may be traumatized afterwards, upon the realization that the act that happened in their childhood was sexual in nature.
  85. Never understimate a teenager’s sexual knowledge.
  86. If the child didn’t suffer when the act happened, but began to suffer after “understanding” it in a certain manner, that implies that the symptoms wouldn’t have occurred without that realization.
  87. So, the experience wasn’t traumatic in itself, but the realization was what caused the trauma.
  88. The first question that a therapist must ask is if the patient knows what caused the symptoms, that is, if he can associate the symptoms with an event that originated them.
  89. A child who spends too much time with the parent of the opposite sex won’t easily abide to gender roles.
  90. There are children who dislike their own sex.
  91. Gender roles are frustrating.
  92. When a conflict occurs, third parties may need to pick sides.
  93. The shattering of the patient’s family is also a good source of trauma.
  94. Marriage implies some sacrifices that make it less appealing for people who value personal freedom.
  95. Pregnancy is for healthy people.
  96. The patient’s account may have little relevancy in terms of explaining the symptoms.
  97. When an once self-sufficient person notices that they have feelings of dependency, they might become depressed.
  98. A lonely person is often jealous of people who have friends and romances.
  99. You can be jealous to the point of insanity.
  100. A person may feel utterly guilty for actually liking and taking advantage of someone’s death (“my sister is dead, I can now have her husband for myself!”).
  101. The conflict between feelings (which aren’t willingly felt) and morals (which are willingly accepted) can make a person fall ill.
  102. A therapist can befriend a patient.
  103. But a therapist who reveals a patient’s secrets ruins the treatment.
  104. You can’t diagnose or describe a mental disorder like you diagnose and describe physical affections.
  105. That’s why real mental diagnosis looks like tales, rather than the closed definitions found in DSM.
  106. A person can develop a mental disorder while looking after a person who is suffering from a physical disorder.
  107. Having “mild” hysteria doesn’t keep you from functioning in society.
  108. Sometimes an event hits you so hard, in a moment that you can not express emotion, that you have to spare your tears for another time.
  109. Even if your illness doesn’t keep you from functioning in society, you may still feel ashamed of it.
  110. Tell a person what they need to hear, even if it’s an uncomfortable truth.
  111. If a person is suffering from a psychological problem, it’s useless to treat the body.
  112. A hysteric attack that happened in the past may happen again several years after.
  113. Words can hurt just as much as a punch.
  114. (self-suggestion + conversion) / 2 = symbolization.
  115. Some sensations that we have when we are insulted are analogous to the feelings we derive from physical molestation (example: a “heart-breaking” insult “makes the heart hurt”).
  116. Another: “to swallow a frog”, for when we want to say something back, but we are unable to.
  117. Communicate in a way to enable others to understand exactly what you mean, even if you have to use words that some people would find innappropriate.
  118. Be honest and admit the limitations of your theory.
  119. If you believe that you can not do something, you may lose the ability to do that thing.
  120. You can’t assume that all cases have the same cause just because all cases you saw have the same cause.
  121. You can’t generalize without a good justification to.
  122. A same phenomenon or class of phenomena can have different causes depending on the case.
  123. For example: you can get an erection from thoughts or from physical contact.
  124. Hysteria isn’t always causes by ideas.
  125. A nitid idea can not induce physical affections… unless the body also has some abnormality, in some cases.
  126. A problem in a certain body part can cause pain in another, seemingly unrelated body part.
  127. Hysteria is a problem with both psychic and bodily elements.
  128. The two poles of consciousness: total consciouness and dreamless sleep.
  129. There are several levels of consciousness between those two extremes.
  130. A physical stimulation may invade a dream, but you don’t notice that; you think it’s also part of the dream.
  131. The level of excitability in the brain determines the state of consciouness.
  132. There’s always a flow of stimulus in the brain, it’s not comparable with a wire that only carries current when needed.
  133. You can get literally tired just from thinking or being anxious.
  134. Focusing on something requires energy to be placed in a certain area of ourselves (you can’t give profound thought into something while performing a complex physical task).
  135. We can’t control when we wake up, meaning that it’s your body, not your mind, that wakes you up.
  136. Boredom is a state of excess of brain energy, that isn’t spent on anything and causes discomfort.
  137. That’s why we jiggle our legs, walk from side to side, check our messages knowing that no one sent anything…
  138. When our brain energy is balanced, we become lucid.
  139. Just as physical balance is needed for perfect functioning, mental balance is also needed.
  140. Sexual repression will make you insane.
  141. Sexual repression also changes non-sexual behavior.
  142. The energy that could be spent satiating an impulse can be spent in another way.
  143. Different people have different levels of separation between purely mental activity and purely physical activity (for example: some people may laugh when scared or have diarrhea when very angry).
  144. When it comes to hysteria, a repressed impulse causes an extreme amount of energy to be kept, which might “leak” into the space designed for other functions (picture it as a brain buffer overflow).
  145. Said “overflow” can be causes by excess of energy or weak “wiring”.
  146. As energy is put in movement thanks to emotions, feelings or memories, this model seems to explain why some mental phenomena can have somatic expression.
  147. When an emotion comes too strongly upon a person, it may cause hallucinations, rather than summoning memories.
  148. When you are educated according to a certain moral code, you may feel guilt and shame upon recollecting the way you acted on the past before the moral code was stablished in your head.
  149. Imagine a boy who indulges in masturbation and later converts to a religion that preaches the idea that masturbation is sinful, what do you think will happen to that boy?
  150. A lot of stress, anxiety, shame and even mental disorders find their roots in conflicts like “sex drive versus morality”.
  151. Confessing your struggles, your flaws, makes the burden easier to withstand.
  152. The model proposed by Breuer is, obviously, limited: each case is different, so no model can be definitive.
  153. If, on one hand, sexual repression is problematic, on the other hand, it’s also problematic to force sexuality upon someone who isn’t ready for a certain act or doesn’t wish to take part in it!
  154. A “hipnotic state” may be triggered by hipnosis, emotional shock or physical weakness (hunger, sleepness).
  155. Once the pathological idea is in, it no longer needs a hipnotic state to trigger physical effects.
  156. You can hipnotize yourself without noticing.
  157. When you know that you forgot about something, you can say that the memory is present, just outside consciousness.
  158. Some disorders decrease self-control and shyness.
  159. In some people, the mind is divided in two: a conscious mind a “spare mind”, to where the “inadmissible” representations and thoughts go.
  160. While that mind operates in a divided manner, with each side working kind of independently, the content of the spare mind intervenes with the conscious, while said content remains unconscious.
  161. A lot of psycanalytic terms are metaphorical: “subconscious” isn’t a literal place in the brain.
  162. A person can retain consciousness during a hysterical attack.
  163. Clinical samples must not be generalized: if you only study cases of people who were sent to therapy, you are willingly ignoring those with similar experiences and deal with the problem in a way to not need therapy.
  164. Rather, you are studying only the very bad cases.
  165. A researcher is influenced by the samples: a researcher who only uses clinical and forensic samples, for example, will look at a phenomenon differently, compared to those who use general population samples and college samples.
  166. A “mentally disordered” person can still function in society, to the point of being considered “normal” by people who are unaware of his problem.
  167. You not always remember what you just read, even if you read it aloud.
  168. When your mind is tired, your critical sense diminishes, making you prone to suggestion.
  169. “New theory” doesn’t equal “perfect theory”.
  170. Some people are so bored that they wished they could at least be sick.
  171. But it is possible to desire an illness for other reasons.
  172. Fear of sex is pathogenic.
  173. Sexual pleasure derived from new experiences may suppress an acquired sexual trauma.
  174. Marriage is also a fertile field for mental disorders.
  175. Your mental state affects your sexual performance.
  176. Sexuality must be faced with honesty by researchers.
  177. Sexuality is not a disease, but may cause you problems depending on how you deal with it.
  178. Orgasm is almost hypnotic.
  179. Hysteria can be mistaken for demonic possession.
  180. The best fiction is still not real.
  181. Not everyone can be hypnotized by someone else.
  182. Hysteria isn’t an independent entity: several different disorders can be labelled as hysteria.
  183. The diagnostics must be separated.
  184. If you treat a symptom, but not the cause, other symptoms will occurr.
  185. Similarly, treating the cause doesn’t automatically fix the damage that the illness already caused.
  186. You may treat an illness, but you can not change a person’s physical or mental constitution.
  187. A doctor’s job can be frustrating.
  188. When the patient notices that the investigation is about to step in the territory of his secrets, he might feel tempted to drop the treatment.
  189. If you don’t want to be hypnotized, you won’t be hypnotized.
  190. Hysteria is rooted on a memory to which a bad meaning was attributed, in a way that person would rather forget that.
  191. When a new representation (which can be an experience or a meaning attributed to an experience) conflicts with values that already exist in the ego, that representation is “censored”.
  192. If you don’t understand a certain process, do not use it to explain anything.
  193. A sex-negative person likely feels horrified upon feeling sexual arousal.
  194. Mental resistence disappears slowly, but that requires you to keep trying.
  195. To cure hysteria, the person must recall the pathogenic event and verbalize it, so all therapy for hysteria must have that as goal.
  196. Depending on the case, hypnosis is unnecessary.
  197. Hysteria is seldom caused by a single event, a single trauma, a single idea.
  198. Don’t assume that the patient is lying just because his experience doesn’t reflect what you expected.
  199. You can not alter or falsify representations (such as memories) without the patient’s other memories contradicting them.
  200. A persistent thought is a pertinent thought.
  201. The worst thing that can happen in a psychiatric treatment is the loss of trust between patient and doctor.
  202. Loss of trust can happen when the patient feels that the doctor has insulted, mistreated or neglected them.
  203. Loss of trust may also happen when the patient feels like his attachment to the doctor is getting out of hand.
  204. The doctor can not change the patient’s history, but he can change how the patient deals with a memory in the present.

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