10 Curious Culture-Bound Syndromes


1. Koro

Origins: China, Malaysia, Indonesia
A man who suffers from Koro has an overpowering belief that his genitals are retracting and will gradually be absorbed by his body.

2. Amok

Origins: Malaysia
A person suffering from Amok suddenly withdraws from family and friends, then bursts into a murderous rage, attacking the people or objects around him with whatever weapon is available.

3. Taijin Kyofusho

Origins: Japan
A person suffering from Taijin Kyofusho are likely to be extremely embarrassed of themselves or displeasing to others when it comes to the functions of their bodies or appearances. This culture-bound syndrome is a social phobia dealing with social anxiety.

4. Ghost Sickness

Origins: Native American Indian Tribes
A person suffering from Ghost Sickness is said to be preoccupied and/or consumed by the red or dying. It is sometimes associated with witchcraft and its symptoms include weakness, loss of appetite, nightmares and suffocation.

5. Brain Fag

Origins: West Africa
A person suffering from Brain Fag is usually a high school or university student with syndromes such as difficulties concentrating, remembering, and thinking, as well as head, neck, and eye pain. It is caused by excessive external pressure to be successful among the young.

6. Ataque de Nervios

Origins: Latin America and the Caribbean
A person suffering from Ataque de Nervios displays syndromes such as uncontrollable screaming or shouting, crying, trembling, sensations of heat rising in the chest and head, and verbal or physical aggression. It is usually associated with a stressful event and despite its comparisons to panic attacks, investigators have identified it as a separate syndrome with measured differences in anxiety sensitivity and types of attacks.

7. Hikikomori

Origins: Japan
Hikikomori is a a Japanese term to refer to the phenomenon of reclusive adolescents or young adults who withdraw from social life, often seeking extreme degrees of isolation and confinement in their room, apartment or house for prolonged periods, sometimes measured in years.

8. Dhat

Origins: India
A person suffering from Dhat is said to report premature ejaculation or impotence, and the belief that they are passing semen in their urine.

9. Falling Out

Origins: Southern United States and Caribbean
Falling out is described as a constricted consciousness as a psychological response to anxiety and specific stressors. It is sometimes characterized by sudden collapse and preceded dizziness and spinning sensation. The person suffering from Falling Out can usually hear and understand why this is going on around them.

10. Evil Eye

Origins: Mediterranean and Hispanic populations
The Evil Eye is a malevolent look which is believed to be able to cause injury or misfortune for the person at whom it is directed for reasons of envy or dislike. The term also refers to the power attributed to certain persons of inflicting injury or bad luck by such envious or ill-wishing look. The Evil Eye is usually given to others who remain unaware.There are talismans created to protect against the Evil Eye.