Hysteria Diagnosis Still Hounds Some Girls with Invisible Disabilities

(Female) — After a soccer injury in May 2010, junior high school student Sarah Kleppe in New Jersey experienced severe chronic pain in her leg. She got terrible and she couldn’t stand up without screaming. She had unbearable pain just by touching her leg. In the next few months she met more than 25 doctors. Most people had no idea what was going on. Some told Cleppe that she was making it.

“After the first visit [to a physical therapist] The woman knew I was lying about my pain and told me it was all in my head, “Creppe said in an email interview. “At another time, when I went to see my pediatrician who had been attending for years, she told me that I was forging my pain to graduate from school. “

Kleppe, now 18 years old, was finally diagnosed with reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), also known as chronic regional pain syndrome. This is a neurological condition in which nerves misfire and constantly send messages of severe pain to the brain. It can cause paralysis, some chronic and some temporary. A few months after her hospitalization, Kreppe was painless, but a scar called a liar by her medical professionals remains on her.

She found that many of the other teenage women in the RSD therapy program had similar negative experiences. Some felt they weren’t taken seriously because of their gender, while others were said to be suffering from hysteria. But constant suspicion from doctors is the most hurtful.

Unlike some chronic disorders such as visible paraplegia, reflex sympathetic dystrophy such as heart defects, asthma, and rosters of other conditions are absent.

Although it is difficult to measure the number of girls with invisible disabilities, Week of invisible illness We found that “96 percent of people who live with illness have an invisible illness.” This statistic was interpreted by IIW from the 1997 survey. US Department of Commerce.. Studies show that such people are less likely to receive support and appropriate treatment.

“Exaggerated” pain

17-year-old Hannah Epstein also developed RSD a few years ago. “My pain was exaggerated and was always said to make up for it,” she said in an email interview with her. “My mother was also told that it was parenting that made me feel the need to” invent “pain because she paid me so much attention. “

Another doctor suggested she was suffering from a “conversion disorder.” Hysterical modernized terminology..

Girls with invisible disabilities need to live with peers, teachers and bosses who doubt their claims every day.

“The whole experience of my sixth grade was people who didn’t believe I was ill,” Epstein said. “People thought I used a wheelchair for fun. They thought I left the class crying in pain for attention. They thought I was a fake and I gave it up. I clearly told my face that it should. It hurts. The main cause of my depression at that time was that no one believed how terrible I was at all times. “

Crepe faces the same problem. “People don’t think I’m a fake, have a bigger deal from my disability, or just do nothing wrong with me,” she said. She can easily identify disabilities such as broken bones and ruptured ligaments, and often receives responses such as “Is there anything I can do for you?” Or “take a break freely for healing.” Invisible disorders, such as some types of multiple sclerosis, usually encounter comments such as: Or’Are you sure? you look fine! ‘”

Ellen Samuels, an associate professor of gender and women’s studies and English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, also faced skepticism when the cause of her pain was not immediately apparent to the doctor.

A few weeks ago she went to the emergency room because of chest pain and was diagnosed with anxiety.Samuels felt that her doctor quickly determined that she had her anxiety without investigating her. Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome..

“No one officially diagnosed me [hysteria]But that’s clearly what they were thinking, “she said in an email interview. She was later diagnosed with intercostal muscle spasms. She said she felt like many other women who were diagnosed with anxiety and hysteria as a way to “reduce a woman’s experience and control her body and mind,” Samuels said. rice field.

Sponsoring nurses and doctors

She recently talked about a friend who was in the emergency room. She said, “The nurse was an hour late in her morphine and she was crying when her nurse came in. The nurse said,” Why are you crying? ” And my friend said,’I’m so suffering! I’m like a crying face on a pain scale! And the nurse said, “No one cries because of pain.”

Even non-disabled girls and women can encounter sexism in the clinic. “Doctors often patronize … assume we don’t know our body and our pain is in our heads,” said a New York-based social worker, educator, and family therapist. , Gender specialist Arlene Rev said in an online interview.

In the 2009 article Lev wrote about hysteria diagnosis As a political tool used to drug angry and helpless women and take children away. “Oh [females] In many cases, it is treated positively. With psychotropic drugs and other (unnecessary) treatments, “she told Teen Voices.

On average, women wait about 16 minutes longer than men in the emergency room, according to the report. 2008 study published by Academic Emergency Medicine..

“Women may not be treated as aggressively until they prove to be as ill as male patients,” he wrote. Joe FaslerA female husband who was unbelievable to the ER in an Atlantic article.

In their 2015 book “Wrong prescription for women” Authors Maureen C. McHugh and João C. Chrisler say that women and girls are often given medication for medical conditions they do not have, but can get the correct diagnosis for severe medical conditions. He said the sex was low.

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Written by Fem Society

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