Dhat Syndrome in India

Dhat syndrome is found in people in cultures in  India, it is when males believe thy have premature ejaculation or that they are urinating out semen during urination and also having erectile dysfunctions. In a scholarly article, Dhat Syndrome as a Functional Somatic Syndrome: Developing a Sociosomatic Model, it says “Dhat syndrome is a widely recognized condition from the Indian subcontinent with fatigue and preoccupation with semen loss as the main presenting symptoms. This condition has been considered to be a culture-bound syndrome, but little is known about its illness characteristics and similarities with other conditions with medically unexplained symptoms.” Dhat syndrome is associated with anxiety and dysphoria in most cases. 

Dhat syndrome is not really biological because it is not something that is passed down through genes or something that is hereditary. Dhat syndrome is something that is culturally stricken. Most of the time, dhat syndrome is a state of mind that they experience when going through anxiety. Indian men believe that they could be passing semen while urinating because of an old Hindu belief about blood. On an individual level, dhat syndrome could occur from a male masturbating excessively then feeling guilty for it which could cause anxiety.

Dhat syndrome is considered to be a functional somatic syndrome. It is in the mind of the individual. According to  Dhat Syndrome as a Functional Somatic Syndrome: Developing a Sociosomatic Model, recent models of functional somatic syndromes combine the perception of physical symptoms, the past illness experience, emotional factors, the ensuing disability as being reinforced by the reaction of others, reassurance, and iatrogenic factors.” The sociosomatic model described in Dhat Syndrome as a Functional Somatic Syndrome: Developing a Sociosomatic Model says thatstressful situations lead to an emotionally aroused state, which leads to amplification of normal physiological phenomena. ” So typically, treatment for dhat syndrome is cognitive behavioral therapy, counseling, and anti-anxiety or anti-depressant medications. 

Gopinath Ranjith, Mohan Rajesh. “Dhat Syndrome as a Functional Somatic Syndrome: Developing a Sociosomatic Model.” 2006.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Sultan Qiblawi says:

    The term culture has many different connotations, but I personally believe that culture is the individual views, traditions, and actions of a group of people. Culture can be influenced by many different factors that include: individual, family, and government. I think that the Dhat syndrome in India is a culture-bound syndrome, because of the factors that go into the diagnosis of the syndrome. The disease has no real definitive genetic factors or hereditary links, and is something that has been seen to effect cultures. This shows that this is psychologically driven and minimally has to do with the biomedical factors that are involved. The advantages of viewing this as a culture-bound syndrome are vast and can help us understand the importance of culture and religious factors in certain disorders that are only seen in certain cultures. Another advantage of looking at this as a CBS is being able to provide the proper healthcare to people who have these symptoms. By understanding all of the factors that go into the disease (biomedical, and psychological) we can give the best healthcare to everyone. There can be many disadvantages involved with looking at this as a non-CBS and we may not be able to fully understand the Dhat syndrome if we do not look at the cultural factors that are involved with the illness. American culture, and biomedical approaches may look at Dhat syndrome as just a cultural rendition of erectile dysfunction, and may contribute psychological factors as the main cause of the illness.

  2. Megan Bergeron says:

    I believe culture to be the beliefs, practices, arts, foods, accomplishments and systems of a particular group of people. These people may live in similar environments, be of the same race, or be part of a variety of other social groups. I think that Dhat syndrome should be considered a CBS even though people in other cultures may experience things similar to this. I think it is a CBS because it is a state of mind that Indian men may have. I do not think that Dhat syndrome would exist if the men of India we not told about it by their families, friends or doctors. I think that an advantage of viewing Dhat syndrome as a CBS is that people experiencing these symptoms, feeling or thoughts will have the opportunity to be treated in order to have a happier life. By understanding what cultural beliefs contribute to Dhat syndrome one is better able to understand the syndrome. I don’t think that there are many disadvantages to viewing Dhat syndrome as a CBS. As Sultan said above, I believe that this syndrome would simply be considered erectile dysfunction in the United States and to biomedical professionals. Erectile dysfunction could lead to one having feelings of embarrassment, anxiety, or guilt.

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