mass hysteria

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mass hys·te·ri·a

1. spontaneous, en masse development of identical physical and/or emotional symptoms among a group of people, as seen in a classroom of schoolchildren;
2. a socially contagious frenzy of irrational behavior in a group of people as a reaction to an event.

mass hysteria

n.
A condition in which a large group of people exhibit similar physical or emotional symptoms, such as anxiety or extreme excitement. Also called epidemic hysteria.

mass hysteria

Etymology: ME, maiour, great; Gk, hystera, womb
an episode of psychogenic illness affecting a large group of individuals at the same time. Examples include the witchcraft trials of the 17th century and the irrational mass reaction to the 1938 radio show based on H.G. Wells' science-fiction novel, War of the Worlds. Also called collective hysteria, epidemic hysteria, major hysteria, mass panic, mass psychogenic illness.

mass hysteria

The synchronous appearance in a group of individuals of signs and nonspecific physical symptoms of hysteria, for which no organic cause can be determined. It is transmitted among members of a group by “line of sight” and is more common in young females.

Clinical findings
Nausea, loss of consciousness, vertigo, headache, shortness of breath, fainting, screaming, shaking, crying, muscle weakness, hyperventilation; a general lack of symptoms in those sharing the same physical environment, but in a different timeframe—i.e., of temporal, and not spatial, significance.

mass hysteria

Psychiatry The 'transmission' of anxiety among a group of individuals

mass hys·te·ri·a

(mas his-ter'ē-ă)
1. Simultaneous identical physical or emotional symptoms among a group of people.
2. A socially contagious frenzy of irrational behavior in a group of people as a reaction to an event.
Synonym(s): mass sociogenic illness.
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