Amok in Malaysia

The culture bound syndrome I picked to review was Running Amok. Running Amok is a CBS that was mostly common in Malaysian culture, but now has prevailed in the countries of Philippines, Laos, Papua New Guinea, and Puerto Rico. Running Amok an incident of sudden mass assault against people or objects made by a single individual. The CBS starts out with an abnormal bizarre attitude or personality and end whenever the attacker gets tired, which is commonly paired with amnesia, or the attacker dies either by other innocent bystanders putting a stop to the madness or the attackers committing suicide. This culture bound syndrome was discovered well over two centuries ago, it was recognized by Captain Cook by a Malay tribesmen with the disorder in full affect. This syndrome is commonly seen in these primitive, domestic areas, where it is believed that the evil spirit entering a person’s body and giving a male or female persuasive to perform violently without conscious awareness.

Biologically, Running Amok is deliberated of being a mental disorder that is caused by a previous or already existing mental disorder. It is said that is not a psychiatric condition and is better treated by physicians. Being from the primitive areas this disorder is influenced by more of spiritual beliefs where demons are in possession of the body. Individually, this disorder can be cause from other bad behavior or dark feelings. There are two types of amok, there is beramok, which is connected with a personal loss and preceded by a period of depressed mood, maybe from family or financial problems. Then there is amok appears to be interconnected with personality disorders and or delusional disorder.

If I had to pick a sector of healthcare that this disorder should be evaluated in I would have to choose the professional sector because it is more organized, yet is authorized by the government, which would help when it is the causing of innocent lives to be taken.


Saint Martin , Manuel . “Running Amok: A Modern Perspective on a Culture-Bound Syndrome.” Prim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry 1: 66-70.

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