Until the year 1952, “hysteria” was a legitimate medical diagnosis used for women. In 1952, the American Psychiatric Association officially dropped the term. What was considered to be a “disease” was actually an outward expression of the frustrations of women’s unreleased sexuality and sexual desires. Pushed beyond their limits of oppression and repression, women became hysterical, with symptoms like anxiety, insomnia, irritability, changes in appetite, changes in behavior, and even changes in bodily functions. Once the natural desire and need of femininity could be fulfilled in some way, famously experimented through sexual stimulation, the female seemed to change.
What matters here is not the controversial detail of women’s medical history but the fact that natural female experiences, as well as needs, were once classified as a disease. Thematically, the way the medical world, especially male professionals, has responded to the needs of women has gone unchanged. Women are still seen as hysterical to some degree and are often dismissed and disregarded by male medical professionals, who absurdly conclude that the symptoms women “claim” to have, are over-dramatizations of the truth. Certainly, being in pain of any kind, not being believed, and not receiving the proper medical treatment which could relieve that pain and suffering, is enough to drive a woman to hysteria indeed.
A new study on the Danish published in Nature Communications found that compared to men, women were diagnosed with an average delay of about four years for over 700 different diseases. The data of nearly 7 million people was assessed for the study. In 2015, The Atlantic dove into the dismissal of women’s pain and suffering, citing “The Girl Who Cried Pain” in which Leslie Jamison investigated studies into gender bias which found that “Women are ‘more likely to be treated less aggressively in their initial encounters with the health-care system until they ‘prove that they are as sick as male patients.’” Often deemed dramatic and incapable of recognizing or managing their own physical experiences, women have to wait longer in emergency rooms, wait to be diagnosed, and can be put in extremely dangerous health situations to get the care that they need.
For women who are struggling with their mental health, misdiagnosis, prolonged diagnosis, or general dismissal of symptoms can be not only problematic, but fatal. In our next few blogs, we’ll look at the importance of eliminating the hysteria legacy as well as give tips for what women can do to make sure their needs are heard, as well as met.
Women’s recovery programs created by women, run by women, made for women, are key to helping women navigate the many layers of their world both internally and externally. Created with the female experience especially in mind, the RedCliff Recovery program has been designed to help women believe in hope, live in joy, and find the freedom they deserve. For more information on women’s wilderness, call us today: 801.370.2274