The Culturally Bounded Syndrome I have chosen to write about is Brain Fag Syndrome which occurs in varying African Countries such as Nigeria, Malawi, and Cote D’Voire. This CSB is characterized by concurrent somatic symptoms such as neck problems and head pains as well as psychological symptoms such as sleeplessness, suppression of comprehension abilities, and the other cognitive impairments. Awareness of this syndrome came originally from the 1960s and was believed to only be in Nigeria until later years when more nations started reporting of cases. In trying to understand the syndrome which is predominant in African college students, researchers sought to analyze whether if there is a discernible difference between Brain Fag Syndrome and anxiety as well if it should be considered a mental illness or not. To accomplish this, BFS is analyzed through four different perspectives: traditional medicine, psychoanalysis, biopsychological, and transcultural lenses.
Through this some interesting findings came to note. First looking into the group of people affected, it is a very specific demographic with African Male college students of lower socioeconomic status as the main group. Some theories as to why this is deals with a transcultural narrative where cultural pressures due to the expectations that those who have the opportunity to attend college will in turn bring back financial security to their families. As to why BFS occurs mostly in men who were tested is believed to be because women who may be prone to BFS would be removed from school before higher education.
Many health institutes believed BFS to be just a symptom of studying habits so researchers looked through biopsychological approaches to look into the disease individuality and cognitive connections. Looking into the habits of BFS sufferers, researchers noted that many of them had unhealthy sleeping habits which has a direct connection to other somatic functions. Irritability and restlessness are common symptoms of sleep deprived individuals. By looking into this, researchers have looked to intervene in the appearance of the syndrome by promoting better study habits with an emphasis on body care. As well, researchers have looked into ways they can break tension between immense familial pressures to perform well academically. Finally, some have responded well with antidepressants and other drugs to cope with mental anxieties.