The term referring to illnesses known as the vapours (or vapors) is an archaic form for certain mental or physical states, such as hysteria, mania, clinical depression, bipolar disorder, lightheadedness, fainting, flush, withdrawal syndrome, mood swings, or PMS, ascribed primarily to women and thought to be caused by internal emanations. This is related to the similar term female hysteria. Vapours were considered to be the female equivalent to melancholy found in men.
The word "vapours" was used to describe a depressed or hysterical nervous condition. Today, the phrase "a case of the vapors" is most often used either melodramatically, or for comedic effect.
A description of someone having "a case of the vapors" was sometimes used for a person in a state of emotional agitation.
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