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Susto (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈsusto], Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈsuʃtu]) is a cultural illness primarily among Latin American cultures. It is described by Razzouk et al. as a condition of being frightened and "chronic somatic suffering stemming from emotional trauma or from witnessing traumatic experiences lived by others".[1] Susto is classified as a culture-bound syndrome,[2] a symptom that occurs and is recognized within an ethnic group.[3]


Among the indigenous peoples of Latin America, in which this illness is most common, susto may be conceptualized as a case of spirit attack.[4] Symptoms of susto are thought to include nervousness, anorexia, insomnia, listlessness, fever, depression, and diarrhea.[1]


The treatment used among the indigenous people was all natural. Some natural treatments to Susto consisted of using plants as medicine, sweating out the toxins, massaging to encourage blood flow, prayer is a big part in the treatment of Susto. In addition to prayer, healing rituals are also used some of which include sweeping and giving gifts.


Susto may be a culturally dependent variation of the symptoms of panic attack, distinct from anxiety and depressive disorders.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Razzouk D, Nogueira B, Mari Jde J (May 2011). "The contribution of Latin American and Caribbean countries on culture bound syndromes studies for the ICD-10 revision: key findings from a work in progress". Rev Bras Psiquiatr. 33 Suppl 1: S5–20. doi:10.1590/S1516-44462011000500003. PMID 21845335.
  2. ^ Donlan, William; Lee, Junghee (December 2010). "Coraje, nervios, andsusto: Culture-bound syndromes and mental health among Mexican migrants in the United States". Advances in Mental Health. 9 (3): 288–302. doi:10.5172/jamh.9.3.288. ISSN 1838-7357.
  3. ^ Griffith, Laura (2014-02-21), "Culture-Bound Syndrome", The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Health, Illness, Behavior, and Society, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, pp. 354–356, doi:10.1002/9781118410868.wbehibs189, ISBN 9781118410868
  4. ^ Castillo, Richard (1997). Culture & Mental Illness: A Client-Centered Approach. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole Publishing Company

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