The women are cutting their own hair either consciously or in an unconsciously, it is a mass Hysteria/conversion disorder and India has had a history of mass hysteria


Mass Hysteria/conversion disorder is a type of minor mental disorder. Any issue or a problem or unfulfilled desire which causes unpleasantness to the conscious mind gets suppressed into unconscious mind where it gets converted into a physical or mental symptom. This helps in reducing the unpleasantness. Or the conscious mind dissociates itself from the problem or situation for a short period during identity and memories related to it, thus avoiding the unpleasantness. Because of conversion symptom or dissociation symptom, the person gets a lot of attention from others. Others show sympathy and concern for the person, they may give concessions and take away the responsibilities from the person. They give the person the status of either a sick person or of a special person (Godman). This helps the individual in many ways. In the past, we have had similar incidents in other parts of the country, some of the bizarre incidents are:
Monkey Man or Kala Bandar: In 2001, the capital was struck by the horror of 'Monkey Man'. People reported seeing a half man-half monkey like creature roaming the streets of New Delhi, attacking people.
The 'Sweet Water' of Mahim Creek: In 2006, Mumbai residents claimed that the water of the highly contaminated Mahim creek, had suddenly turned sweet. Hundreds flocked to Mahim beach to taste the water.
The 'Muhnochwa' Scare: In the summer of 2002, locals in Uttar Pradesh's Mirzapur were terrorised by an object they called 'Muhnochwa', or the face (muh) ripper (nochwa). Locals described it as a flying object that emitted beams of red or green.
Kerala's Notorious 'Black Man': In early 2015, an unidentified 'Black Man' was said to be attacking women and children in Kerala. 'Black Man' reportedly wore a black mask and a black outfit.
Tamil Nadu's Blood-Sucking Vampire: In 2016, hysteria about a 'vampire' kept residence of a Tamil Nadu village confined to their homes. Villagers in Gundalapatti, Mottangurichi were mortified by their cattle dying mysteriously and believed a blood-sucking vampire, or Ratha Kaatteri, was on the prowl.
HYSTERIA or conversion disorder is commonly seen in women and children in those societies where they are neglected and ill-treated. Hysteria /conversion disorder becomes a way of communicating one distress or way of protest. This disorder is presented in the following manner.
“Fainting or spells of unconsciousness;-The girl falls slowly to the ground, without injuring herself. The eyes are closed or half open. Though she is aware of the surroundings, she does not respond to the stimuli. Five or ten minutes later, she starts responding and may say that she does not remember what happened to her.
“Fits:-the girl falls to ground without injuring herself. Her limbs start moving irregularly. She may have hurried breathing. She may make some groaning sounds. No tongue-biting. No incontinence of urine. The attack lasts for more than five minutes. The hysterical fits differ from epileptic fits which is a disorder of the brain.
“Brief episodes of abnormal behavior:- Suddenly, the woman starts talking or behaving abnormally. She screams, abuse, runs, does not care for her dress. She may roll over the floor as though she is in distress. This lasts for Five to thirty minutes and she becomes alright after that. She may not remember the episode. It repeats.
“Mutism:-The lady suddenly becomes mute. It can last for a few hours or a few days or even for a few weeks.
“Weakness of one limb or paralysis:-She may develop weakness or paralysis of one or more limbs and may remain disabled. One important feature, is the paralyzed limb moves during sleep.
The other symptoms in hysteria may be breathing difficulties, hiccoughs, belching, loss of eye-sight or ability to hear, absence of sensation in the skin or numbness, walking during sleep, loss of memory, behaving like a totally different person for some time, may cut her hair.
There are some common symptoms of all hysterical /conversion disorders
“They occur suddenly in a dramatic way
“They appear only in front of people. Thus, they appear when the patient is alone or during sleep.
“Despite. The symptoms, the patient takes care basic needs like · food, sleep, comforts and 'safety.
“She doesn't injure herself during the attack.
“She may not remember the attack or does not know why she is having these attacks.
How to Treat it: Strong suggestion through a tablet or on injection or admission or any other suitable method, removes the hysterical symptom. Thus mantravadi (magician) priest or a native healer also succeeds in removing the symptom by conducting a ritual or by giving a talisman. But unless the underlying problem is enquired and resolved, hysterical symptoms relapse or a new symptom appears.
Therefore, the doctor and the family members should try to encourage the person to communicate her problems or desires so that they can be understood and remedy can be worked out. Others should not show unnecessary concern, sympathy to the person during the attacks because more the attention, symptoms last longer or keep repeating. By training, the coping skills of the patient have to be improved. It is also essential to bring necessary changes in the environment so that the patient lives harmoniously with others and is able to lead a normal and comfortable life. Education, Scientific thinking, free and open communication, love and support' from the family members prevent the recurrence of any hysterical symptom.
It is worth to note that hysterical conversion or dissociation disorder has disappeared in those societies where women get good education, enjoy better status, have freedom of expression and have
economic independence.

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