Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Epilepsy and Hysteria

stethoscopeEpilepsy vs Hysteria

The first thought to strike our minds when we talk of epilepsy and hysteria is that epilepsy is a condition that is far more scientifically approved, whereas hysteria is a literal term used to denote the condition. The other major difference between the two is that epilepsy generally occurs in children (although it may take place in adults as well, like was the case with South African cricketer Jonty Rhodes), while hysteria occurs in adults and not in kids.

Epilepsy is a commonly occurring neurological disorder that is qualified by a recurring and unprovoked seizure. The seizures are temporary symptoms or syndromes of abnormal or synchronous action that takes place within the human brain in excessive amounts. It is a situation when the neurons in our brain get highly activated. In hysteria, the condition is more mental than physical and the symptoms are like unmanageable fear or excessive emotional states, resulting in hyper reaction. The fear that is usually associated with hysteria is caused on account of multiple situations or incidents in our past which comprised severe conflicts.

Hysteria is usually a fear related to a particular part of the body or for that matter an imaginative state of mind. The imagination however relates to a particular body part. Generally, those who are faced with hysteria lack in self control as a result of overwhelming fear. In this context, epilepsy is a condition that can be treated with proper diagnosis, as the symptoms are far more physical. The affected has nothing to do with imagined mental states or anxiety and fear relating to a part of their body.

Epilepsy derives from the Greek root word ‘epilambanein’ which means to attack or to seize; hence it is a common neurological disorder that is featured with unprovoked seizures. Hysteria is a Greek colloquial ‘hustera’ which refers to the uterus, as the syndrome was originally taken to be a condition specifically related to women. There are about 50 million people all over the world who suffer from epileptic conditions, while medical studies have observed that the condition is present in 95% of the cases that demonstrate a family history of stressors.


Epilepsy comes from the Greek word ‘epilambanein’ which implies ‘to attack’ or ‘to seize’, whereas hysteria is derived from the Greek root ‘husterus’ which refers to the uterus.

Epilepsy is a biological condition, whereas hysteria is mental, being associated with fear regarding particular body parts.

Epilepsy is caused by abnormally functioning neurons in the brain; hysteria is a result of imaginations or abnormal fantasies or fears.

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