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Indian J Psychol Med. 2013 Oct;35(4):326-31. doi: 10.4103/0253-7176.122219.

Dhat syndrome: a review of the world literature.

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All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India.
All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India ; National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre, New Delhi, India.


Dhat syndrome is described as a culture bound syndrome (CBS). There is an ongoing debate on the nosological status of CBS. Dhat syndrome has been found to be prevalent in different geographical regions of the world. It has been described in literature from China, Europe, Americas, and Russia at different points of time in history. Mention of semen as a "soul substance" could be found in the works of Galen and Aristotle who have explained the physical and psychological features associated with its loss. However, the current classification systems such as International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Conditions-10 (ICD-10) (World Health Organization (WHO)) and Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM)-IV-TR (American Psychiatric Association) do not give guidelines to diagnose these culture-bound conditions in the main text. The revisions of these two most commonly used nosological systems (the ICD and DSM) are due in near future. The status of this condition in these upcoming revisions is likely to have important implications. The article reviews the existing literature on dhat syndrome.


Culture bound syndrome; dhat syndrome; international statistical classification of diseases and related health conditions-10

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