Case Study Of The Wendigo Psychosis

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Introduction Certain mental illnesses are unique to cultures. They are recognizable only within a particular society, at a particular time. Such disorders are medically and anthropologically known as “culture-bound” or “culture specific” syndromes. There are a number of fascinating culture-bound syndromes found around the world, and one such disorder is the Wendigo Psychosis. This mental condition is linked to Native American culture, specifically to certain northern tribes such as; Chippewa, Ojibwa, Cree, and Inuit. The Psychosis was most popular in the 19th century, and was usually found to have developed during winter months when families were isolated due to heavy snowfall, and there was not enough food supplies to get them through the tough months. Symptoms The signs that point to the disorder were thought to be psychosomatic. Depression, distaste for ordinary foods leading to poor appetite, nausea and vomiting, a state of semi-stupor, are the initial symptoms of the Wendigo Psychosis. Once the symptoms set in, the victim’s…show more content…
From the case studies and witness accounts is was very clear that the individuals suffering from the disorder were not in the right state of mind. They perceived those around them to look like a variety of edible animals, and were deluded into craving human flesh. Their delusions, when serious, drove them to act out violently, and attack those around them. Psychiatrists who have studied the disorder have also tried to explain it by applying other psychological conditions to it. Since one of the main causes for the psychosis is starvation, anorexia is seen to be associated. Individuals suffering from anorexia have been known to go through extreme and dramatic mood swings, as well as phases of insomnia. Linking these symptoms to the Wendigo, the delusions could have arisen due to insomnia, or they could have been acting on delusions because of extreme mood
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