Djinnati in Rural Iran

Djinnati is a culture-bound syndrome seen in Baluchistan, Iran. Djinnati may produce episodic symptoms including altered consciousness, altered memory, muteness, crying, hallucination, laughing, and a foreign entity called “Djinn”. Women are more common to experience these episodes. This study was aimed to explore the prevalence of Djinnati and find any common signs and symptoms. 4129 participants almost equally divided male and female were evaluated for psychological disorder. If any symptoms of possession were present, further study included examination of psychiatric history, developmental history, sexual history and examining the mental status. 20 patients completed The Dissociative Experience Scale (DES), which covers 28 common dissociative experiences. A high score is not a diagnosis for disorders, but a suggestion for further clinical assessment. The results of the study showed 21 female patients were diagnosed with Djinnati syndrome. The 21 patients diagnosed with Djinnati syndrome had a higher mean score on the DES than those not diagnosed.

Biologically Djinnati syndrome can have outward clinical attacks with varied symptoms for on average 30 minutes to 2 hours. Biological symptoms including paralysis and numbness of limbs, muteness, and increased physical strength all have been seen during episodes. 9 patients claimed the first attack resulted from a past traumatic experience. I wonder if Djinnati and high stress/anxiety associated with traumatic experiences have a strong relationship. Culturally Djinnati and other possession syndromes are seen in other non-western cultures. The article mentions villages in India, Mozambique and Turkey all experiencing a population suffering from possession disorders. The article found the prevalence seemed to increase during social crises. It was interesting to see that those individuals affected were only females and the other studies mentioned by the article also had only female diagnosis. Treatments of Djinnati syndrome were not discussed to a great detail. Sedatives to keep patients relaxed and safe during episodes but no treatment was discussed. There seems to be a correlation between social crisis and low socioeconomic status among females contributing to possession disorders.


Nour Mohammad Bakshani, Nasrin Hosseinbore, Mohsen Kianpoor, “Djinnati syndrome: Symptoms and prevalence in rural population of Baluchistan (southeast of Iran).” Asian Journal of Psychiatry. (2013): 6:6 556-570, accessed July 16, 2014, DOI: 10.1016/j.ajp.2013.09.012

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