Culture Bound Syndrome Research Paper

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Zenisha Shah 3 Psychology Honors 1313498 Culture bound syndrome: Zār Wind blowing a cause of dizziness, believing that you are possessed by a spirit, illness sent by others due to hatred or envy, exaggerated response to a frightening stimuli, delusion of transforming into an animal, insatiable craving for human flesh. All these are not the plots of any fiction novel but the symptoms of various culture bound syndrome Culture bound syndrome as the phrase suggests is a syndrome found in a specific culture or area. It is a combination of psychiatric and somatic symptoms recognized in a particular culture, area or society. Zar is one such syndrome seen in Ethiopia and other parts of east and north Africa. It is also seen in parts of Middle East. We know classification of any behaviour as abnormal largely depends on what that society considers normal at a given period. Thus we can say culture bound syndrome is characterized as a syndrome or abnormal if it is seen as a disease in that culture, not completely…show more content…
The symptoms include various unusual behaviours like mutism(failure to speak),uncontrolled involuntary movement and gibberish, and incomprehensible language. Other symptoms may include depression, hallucinations, laughing, weeping, hitting head against the wall, anxiety and dissociative episodes. Physical symptoms include headache, body pain, gastrointestinal dysfunction and fatigue. Ahmad-Al- Shahi in his paper possession and healing: Zar among the Shaygiyya of Sudan discusses that the Zar is considered as an hidden power and their influence on humans manifests itself when it desires something such as gold, drinks, ornaments or other such items. The demands vary and it is believed that the spirit is very sensitive. They believe that there is a reciprocal relationship between the spirit and human and the demands of the spirit need to be fulfilled for peace of mind of the
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