Glossary of Culture-Bound Syndromes:

This glossary lists most of the culture-bound syndromes found in the literature, although it is by no means exhaustive. Syndromes are listed alphabetically in two sections: actual culture-bound syndromes vs. culture-specific idioms of disease (see the introductory essay for a brief description of the differences.) The major geographical or cultural locale for each syndrome is given, along with a brief description and a listing of synonyms or similar syndromes in other cultural regions. For syndromes (e.g., koro) which have a similar presentation in many cultures, only one or two of the best-documented variants have a description.

The following list is adapted in part from lists of culture-bound syndromes given in DSM-IV (pp. 845-849) and in Kaplan and Sadock's Synopsis of Psychiatry (pp. 190-191, 493-494). Simons & Hughes (1985: 475-505) give a much more extensive listing of culture-bound syndromes; however, their descriptors are not always specific enough for inclusion here.

I have added several syndromes, expanded or condensed descriptors, and divided the categories into actual culture-bound syndromes vs. culture-specific idioms of disease.

At present, descriptions in this list are more complete for syndromes of East Asia, Southeast Asia, and South Asia, which are my areas of interest.

Psychiatric syndromes which are endemic to particular cultures:

Culture-specific idioms of distress and disease:

This site was created on 21 Sep 1996. All original textual and photographic material on these pages is copyrighted 1996-2012 by Timothy M. Hall unless otherwise noted.