Culturebound syndromes

These conditions, confined to particular cultures, are conveniently mentioned here, although it may not be strictly correct to class all of them as 'paranoid states'. Examples are as follows:

• amok: an acute confusional state in Malaysian men, leading to murder and/or suicide

• latah: echolalia and echopraxia in Malaysian women

• koro: panic caused by fear that the penis is disappearing, in young Chinese men

• dhat: complaints of losing semen in the urine, in young Indian men.

These rare syndromes are of academic interest to the UK psychiatrist, rather than practical importance.

Further reading

Enoch, M. D. and Ball, H. N. (2001). Uncommon Psychiatric Syndromes (4th edn). London: Arnold.

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