Culture Bound Syndrome Essay

1066 Words Dec 15th, 2005 5 Pages
Windigo Culture Bound Syndrome (CBS) is defined by the DSM-IV as recurrent, locally specific patterns of deviant behavior and troubling experience that may or may not be linked to a particular DSM-IV diagnostic category. Such patterns of behavior are indigenously considered to be an "illness" or at least an affliction, and most have names specific to the region or culture in which they originate. Many CBSs are not literally syndromes; they are more like ways of explaining any of a wide array of misfortunes. In the following pages I will attempt to explain the CBS known as windigo. Over the course of the following pages I will attempt to describe the various types of windigo stemming from the folklore of the cannibalistic spirit. …show more content…
The physiological signs that a person has become possessed with the windigo spirit begin with a morbid state of anxiety due to the physical symptoms of nausea, vomiting, and poor appetite. The anxiety can escalate to the point that the afflicted person commits suicide in order to prevent himself from committing any more acts of homicide or cannibalism.
In today's society these cases are believed to have never existed or that if they once did, they no longer do. Most modern cases are attributed to paranoia, where the person who as committed such acts of violence or cannibalism is trying to escape persecution. The most recent outbreak of "windigo psychosis" as referred to by psychologists, was in the 1970's. During the outbreak patients showed signs of cannibalistic tendencies, they were violent, and were afflicted with severe antisocial behavior.
Canada has had many accounts of windigo trials. One such trial occurred in the settler days of the late 18th century, when explorer David Thompson documented what he witnessed in the Lake of the Woods region. Thompson stated "A young Indian hunter announced to everyone's surprise that he had a strong inclination to eat his sister, and that he would do anything he must to have human flesh. Alarmed, the band council came to the decision that the man must die, executed by his father. When informed of the resolution that was chosen, the Indian hunter was

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