Expert Q&A: When Medical Symptoms Are Dismissed as "All in Your Head" The book reviews how ME/CFS (myalgic encephalopathy/chronic fatigue syndrome), fibromyalgia, many autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis, and other chronic illnesses are all part of the group you refer to as “the disorders formerly known as hysteria.” Can you elaborate? There are a lot of diseases we recognize today that have been carved out of a wastebasket diagnostic category of illness that in past centuries was called hysteria and since then has gotten different euphemisms, like psychogenic, psychosomatic, or somatization disorders. ME/CFS is one of them—I think that is a pretty dark example of a condition that disproportionally affects women and is very much stereotyped as a women’s disease. That is in large part why, I would argue, it is understudied and belittled. Skeptics of the illness have often pointed to the fact that it mostly impacts women as a reason to believe that it’s psychosomatic. That’s a common pattern.