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Press Statement by the Malaysian Psychiatric Association (MPA) on the Issues of Treatment for Hysteria

Date: 4 May 2015

Hysterical attacks is common and in our society it often occurs among young people at the educational institutions and schools. Hysterical attacks is a constellation of symptoms for variety of psychiatric, neurological or medical diseases. Although in Malaysia, it has always been associated with the Malays and Muslims, hysteria has its roots back in the ancient Greek medical texts. Even the imminent scholars of psychiatry and neurology in the 19th century had given considerable attention into the phenomenon of hysteria. According to the International Classification of Disease (ICD-10) and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th edition (DSM-5), the medical explanation of hysterical phenomena is Conversion disorder, an illness with mixed psychiatric and neurological symptoms. It is complicated by other psychological phenomena that explain the reason for each incidence of hysteria. Ataque de nervios is one of the conditions related to it.

Hysteria is theoretically believed to occur due to the exacerbation of acute anxiety attack. It was accepted that the usual provoking cause was strong emotion. The repressed emotional distress is converted into physical symptoms that have symbolic meaning. Psychospiritual is one of the possible causes. Psychiatrically, hysteria should be treated to reduce the heighten arousal state and dealt with the underlying provoking emotional issues. Therefore, any claims of treatment for hysteria outside the context of psychiatric illness is inappropriate.

Thus, the MPA is worried about claims of treatment for hysteria outside the contact of medical and psychiatric illness. The extensive media coverage over the last few days with regards to the existence of an anti-hysteria kit is indeed worrying. For almost 150 years, the doctors and scientists has tried to understand this phenomena, and had developed a modern concept of treatment which is scientifically proven. The MPA feels with the presence of an anti-hysteria kit to “wade off evil spirit” is indeed misleading the community. Managing hysteria without incorporating psychiatric and medical approach is very dangerous to both the patients and the community.

In the medical field, development of a treatment is a very stringent process. It involves 4 phases namely Drug Discovery, Pre-Clinical trials, Clinical Trials and Approval by the relevant Authority. In Malaysia, before an intervention can be used for medical treatment, it has to comply with the Drug Registration Guidance Document from the National Pharmaceutical Control Bureau, Ministry of Health Malaysia. The development of any medical intervention must also comply with World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Declaration of Helsinki and Nuremberg Code of ethics. This is to ensure the safety of the patients. Any interventions which are not proven safe can potentially cause grave consequences, including death. It is also crucial that any treatment will not aggravate the on-going illness.

Any medical treatment should be able to be used by anyone, regardless of social background e.g. religion and race. In view of this, the treatment of hysteria must encompass the biological, psycho-social and psycho-spiritual aspects that can be applied throughout the diverse community. An important approach is to reduce the heightened arousal state that lead to the onset of the hysterical attack through medication or psychological approach.

In conclusion, treatment for hysteria must be backed by sound clinical trials. In addition, publications of treatment data in reputable peer-reviewed journals will ensure proper discussion about research quality. At the moment, psychiatric and medical approaches are still the core of treatment for hysteria. Failure to attend to these concepts may invite considerable harm.

Professor Dr Nor Zuraida binti Zainal,
President,
Malaysian Psychiatric Association (MPA)
2nd May 2015
zuraida@ummc.edu.my

Please refer to below links for the media coverage on this issue:

UMP's anti-hysteria kit confusing society - Malaysian Psychiatric Association

Doctors condemn hype over ‘anti-hysteria’ kit

Use Of Anti-hysteria Kit Confusing Society - Malaysian Psychiatric Association

Penggunaan Kit Antihisteria Kelirukan Masyarakat - Persatuan Psikiatri Malaysia

Penggunaan Kit Anti Histeria kelirukan masyarakat

Penggunaan Kit Anti Histeria kelirukan masyarakat (Facebook)

Please download the official Press Statement in BM and English below...

  arrowMPA media in BM 1.pdf (English - pdf) [238 Kb]

  arrowMPA media in English 1.pdf (English - pdf) [159 Kb]



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