Susto


Susto

Susto is a cultural illness, specifically a "fright sickness" with strong psychological overtones. Susto comes from the Portuguese and Spanish word for "fright" (i.e. Sudden intense fear, as of something immediately threatening). A more severe and potentially fatal form of susto is called "espanto" (also from Spanish, meaning terror or intense fright). It is indigenously attributed to "soul loss" resulting from frightful or traumatic experiences [DSM-IV-TR: "Susto", page 903. APA, 2000] . Among Native Indian populations of Latin America, susto may be conceptualized as a case of spirit attack [Castillo, Richard (1997). Culture & Mental Illness: A Client-Centered Approach. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole Publishing Company] .

Culturally stressed adults (women more often than men) are most likely to suffer from susto, although children may also be afflicted. The onset of the disease generally follows a sudden frightening experience such as an accident, a fall, witnessing a relative's sudden death, or any other potentially dangerous event. Research shows that knowledge of the existence of susto is a major contributing factor in improving the condition.

ymptoms and treatment

Symptoms of susto are thought to include nervousness, anorexia, insomnia, listlessness, despondency, involuntary muscle tics, and diarrhea. A variety of placebo treatments may be used to treat susto. Treatments include the consumption of orange blossom, brazil wood or marijuana teas. An oral solution of figs boiled in vinegar is also imagined to be somewhat therapeutic.

Supposedly, the most effective cures are the ceremonies known as "limpieza" (Spanish for "cleansing") or "barrida" (Spanish for "sweeping"). The limpia or barrida are considered to be best administered immediately after the traumatic event occurs, and are ideally conducted by a curandero (healer). During the limpia/barrida, the patient recounts the details of the frightening event, then lies down on the floor on the axis of a crucifix. The curandero may have the crucifix outlined with aluminum foil or other shiny material. The victim's body is then brushed with a bouquet of fresh herbs such as basil, purple sage, rosemary or rue, while the curandero and other participants recite prayers. Depending on local custom, the curandero may also jump over the victim's body. This is thought by some to exhort the frightened soul back into the body.

Classification

Because there is no universal understanding of this phenomenon and symptoms vary from culture to culture, susto is generally regarded as either a folk illness or a culture bound syndrome.

Traditional Western medicine has not yet recognized susto but there are some similarities between susto and certain anxiety disorders. “Post-traumatic Stress Disorder” and “Acute Stress Disorder," in particular, share many similarities with the condition known as susto. The DSM-IV-TR also states that certain forms of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder are diagnosed more often in cases when symptoms that are characteristic of susto (which include diminished participation in significant activities, feeling of detachment from others, and difficulty falling or staying asleep) are reported.

Many anthropologists also contend that susto is the Latin American version of schizophrenia.

ee also

*Psychological trauma

Notes

External links

* [http://www.rice.edu/projects/HispanicHealth/Courses/mod7/susto.html Brief description]
* [http://www.ucpress.edu/books/pages/1851.html Susto: A Folk Illness] by Arthur J. Rubel, Carl W. O'Nell, and Rolando Collado-Ardon, University of California Press 1984


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • susto — sustantivo masculino 1. Impresión brusca y momentánea causada en una persona por el miedo o por la sorpresa: Me has dado un susto de muerte. 2. Preocupación muy grave y obsesiva por una cosa que se teme ocurra: No podía quitarme el susto de la… …   Diccionario Salamanca de la Lengua Española

  • susto — (De *sustar, y este del lat. suscitāre). 1. m. Impresión repentina causada por miedo, espanto o pavor. 2. Preocupación por alguna adversidad o daño que se teme. dar un susto al miedo. fr. coloq. U. para encarecer lo feo o repugnante. no ganar… …   Diccionario de la lengua española

  • susto — Síndrome de origen cultural, que se observa en poblaciones de América Central y se refiere al estrés suscitado por la imposibilidad percibida por uno mismo de cumplir las expectativas del papel sexual asignado. Diccionario Mosby Medicina,… …   Diccionario médico

  • susto — s. m. 1. Medo profundo e repentino; sobressalto. 2. Terror. 3.  [Gíria] Pão.   • Confrontar: custo …   Dicionário da Língua Portuguesa

  • susto — ► sustantivo masculino 1 Impresión repentina de miedo causada por una persona o cosa: ■ ¡vaya susto me he llevado al abrir la puerta! SINÓNIMO asombro sobresalto 2 Preocupación por el desenlace de una cosa que se teme o inquieta: ■ sólo pensar lo …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • susto — s. cuenta, factura. ❙ «Susto. La cuenta, el importe.» VL. ❙ «El susto: la cuenta, la factura.» JMO. ❙ «Susto. Factura. Cuenta.» S. ❙ «Llama al camarero y pídele el susto.» DCB. ❘ no se ha podido documentar fuera de diccionarios …   Diccionario del Argot "El Sohez"

  • Susto — El susto, sobresalto o reacción de alarma es una respuesta de la mente y del cuerpo a un estímulo repentino e inesperado, como puede ser la luz de un flash, un sonido ruidoso o un movimiento rápido cerca de la cara. En el caso de los humanos, la… …   Wikipedia Español

  • susto — s m 1 Sobresalto o impresión intempestiva y momentánea de miedo por algo que sucede inesperadamente, o que amenaza repentinamente: Se llevaron el susto de su vida , Evitar que la paciente sufra un susto , El susto que se llevó fue tan grande que… …   Español en México

  • susto — (m) (Intermedio) miedo repentino, provocado por algo inesperado Ejemplos: Pasé un susto enorme al ver ese coche chocar contra la pared. Una llamada a medianoche le dio susto. Sinónimos: miedo, sorpresa, temor, angustia, asombro, alarma, temblor,… …   Español Extremo Basic and Intermediate

  • susto — sustantivo masculino sobresalto, espanto. «Susto y espanto explican una consternación del ánimo ocupado de pronto por un objeto o accidente imprevisto. La diferencia que hay entre ellos es que susto es análogo al miedo; el espanto, al horror o a… …   Diccionario de sinónimos y antónimos


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