Dhat Syndrome in Asia

1. Dhat syndrome was said to be semen-loss anxiety. It has vague somatic symptoms of fatigue, weakness, anxiety, loss of appetite, guilt, and sexual dysfunction due to theloss of semen in either through masturbation, nocturnal emission, or urine. The symptoms are well known in the Indian history of this semen loss anxiety. This syndrome was found not only in India but other parts of Asia and through history it shows that even in the 19th century Western culture had fear of semen loss as well. The researchers said that they think through industrialization and urbanization this semen loss anxiety vanished from the West, and that the same may happen in Asia.

2. There is no biological dimension to this illness. The cultural dimension is that it is what people and cultures believe about semen to make it a syndrome. That is it is present in more than one place. Like in China it is believed that semen is a vital energy and excessive loss is weakness so it causes panic. In history of Western cultures masturbation was a crime and the loss of semen in a inappropriate way would lead to reduction of its size. SO the way a culture sees the loss of semen as such a bad thing and state of weakness it brings on the anxiety and worry. In the Indian culture they believe that it takes 40 days for 40 drops of food to be converted into blood, 40 drops of blood to one drop of flesh which converts to marrow and then to semen. So to them it seems so important and such a process that they want to preserve their semen. So for the individual these cultural beliefs create a fear so they then produce a somatic symptoms and seek help for themselves from practitioners because of these worries because semen loss is seen as harmful.

3. In India it is being evaluated by practitioners and confirmed that their are physical reasons for there complaint of semen loss. Patients are being assessed as an hypochondirac, sexual dysfunction, and weakness. Treatments are psychiatric diagnosis because this disorder has symptoms of common mental disorders.

Source: http://bjp.rcpsych.org/content/184/3/200.full

2 thoughts on “Dhat Syndrome in Asia

  1. I think many people say “There is no biological dimension to this illness…” (Young) too easily and too often. It is a matter of fact that no bodily function occurs without biological events occurring. The feelings of fatigue, weakness, anxiety, loss of appetite, guilt, and sexual dysfunction are not found in only one or two specific cultures. I do think though, that it is culture, that is responsible for our feelings about our biology or the way we reflect on it. Ejaculation whether through sex or self-stimulation results in loss of semen and decreases in testosterone which are temporary as the body soon replenishes what is lost (Cavazos). A lot of ladies complain about their guys falling asleep right after they Adam and Eve it. I think that it is the same biological conditions that make a man sleepy as those that make someone feel fatigue after loss of semen; it’s just that they are psychologically interpreted differently in different contexts. Indeed research suggests the release of the hormone prolactin during ejaculation for more on that checkout Science Line (Science Line). It is this interpretation and the differences between contexts which makes a cultural approach very useful when approaching the issue of semen loss anxiety. I do not think it is bound to any specific culture but it is interpreted depending on a culture, definitely. Our culture does not seriously consider semen loss anymore at least not relative to the heydays of chastity belts and forced castrations. Many health blogs will tell a man or boy that their masturbation is not a problem unless it gets in the way of life such as losing sleep over it or interest for their partner.

    Young, Amanda

    Dhat Syndrome in Asia

    Cavasos, Miguel

    The Affects of Masturbation on Testosterone

    Science Line
    Wenner, Melinda

  2. I believe this case should be considered a culture bound syndrome. It is very regionally exclusive, not because it is a common biological entity of the area, but rather because this region shares the same cultural notions that perpetuate this disease. There is no doubt that this is an illness that affects many individuals, but it has different dimensions than those that we traditionally associate biological entities to. It should no be dismissed, where it could cause a potentially detrimental effect on the health of many individuals. An individual’s cultural beliefs are an engraved part of their being and to overlook them would be a mistake anywhere in the world, but particularly an extreme in this setting. As we have discussed earlier, the complete individual needs to be assessed, including their belief model, in order to deliver the most effective treatment. In regards to other cultures or systems, this condition could possibly be explained as infertility, anxiety, depression or another associated illness. I believe it would be mostly described as a psychological disease, but if there truly was a particular infertility element then it should be addressed as such. Regardless if the individual is losing semen or not, they believe it to be true, the true nature of the illness.

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