The word hysteria comes from the Greek word for uterus, hystera (ὑστέρα). Historically, hysteria was thought to manifest itself only in women (female hysteria) with symptoms including: anxiety, shortness of breath, fainting, insomnia, irritability, nervousness, as well as sexually forward behaviour and a "tendency to cause trouble for others".
It was believed that the uterus itself caused this female hysteria by moving around a woman's body putting pressure on other organs. Plato's dialogue Timaeuscompares a woman's uterus to a "living creature that wanders throughout a woman's body, blocking passages, obstructing breathing, and causing disease".
The diagnosis and treatment of female hysteria was routine for hundreds of years in Western Europe. Treatments included the wearing of tight belts and corsets in an attempt to keep the uterus in the correct place and, in extreme cases, woman in Europe and the United States were forced to enter insane asylums or undergo forced hysterectomies.
During the early 20th century, the number of women diagnosed with "female hysteria" sharply declined and the American Psychiatric Association finally dropped the term hysteria completely in 1952. And surprise, surprise: modern medicine no longer considers female hysteria to be a real ailment.
This hard enamel pin is cast from silver nickel and filled with colorful enamel.