Jefferson Journal of Psychiatry


The case of the Barking Man JJP 9(1):82-88, 1991) raises once again the question whether some mental disorders are "Culture Bound Syndromes" or are merely cultural manifestations of basic mental disorders which plague humankind wherever they live. Bernstein and Gaw (1) have recently made a compelling argument for the former position using the example of Koro. Koro affects a variety of ethnic groups throughout Southeast Asia and is characterized by an acute, morbid panic accompanied by the idea that the penis is retracting and will disappear, at which time, the patient fears, he will die. The disorder is widespread, affecting many people, and has been prevalent in the region for generations.

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