Koro in North-East India

The culture-bound syndrome (CBS) that I decided to learn more about was Koro. In this CBS, the patient believes there genitals are shrinking and that eventually they will disappear. In the long run these patients  believe that the falling off of their genitals will cause them death. Koro started to become an epidemic in North-East India in June-September in the year 1982. They believe that there were around hundreds of different cases and people in villages around would even where limes on their ears in hopes of not getting the disease. Other cases in other cultures have happened as well, but these are often atypical and usually associated with other mental disorders that they have.

The type of individual that would most likely get this disease is a man between the ages of 20-40 years old and in the lower economic/social status. Men were not the only ones affected by this; women also got this disease and would be seen grabbing their breasts and crying that their nipples were going to fall off. It was discovered in this study that religion, ethnicity and occupation did not have anything to do with the patients believing they had this disease but rather the patients lack of knowledge.

Treatment for this disease came from giving the patients an education about it. They would have sexual anatomy talks and discuss reassurance to get the patients to understand what was actually happening. Psychiatric therapy sessions were also very common for a patient to have. Another case where this was happening was in China and what they will do to treat it is go to priests and even have exorcisms be done on them.

Overall, this CBS is one of the mind and the only way that some people may be able to fix this is going through therapy sessions and learning more about the syndrome.

Sachdev, P. “Koro Epidemic in North-East India.” Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry 19 (1985): 433-438. Accessed July 15, 2014, doi: 10.1080/00048678509158852


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  1. Nikki Silva says:

    Krystn, this a really interesting CBS. It would be interesting to understand how Koro developed in this area and what in the cultural system caused this disease to be so prolific.

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