Document Detail

The 'Zar' possession syndrome among Ethiopian immigrants to Israel: cultural and clinical aspects.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  8883974     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
This article describes a cultural pattern related to altered states of consciousness, observed amongst new immigrants from Ethiopia in Israel. The belief in possession by Zar spirits is one of the most common possession phenomena in Africa and in other continents. Possession by Zar is expressed by a wide range of behaviours, such as involuntary movements (often resembling epileptiform convulsions), mutism and incomprehensible language. Such behaviour can be misinterpreted as representing symptoms of neurologic or psychiatric disorders. Such misinterpretation has led to inappropriate psychiatric admissions and to misdiagnosis of such cases as major psychiatric disorders. The article illustrates the Zar phenomenon by three clinical vignettes and discusses its cultural and anthropological aspects, as well as its clinical implications within a Western society.
E Witztum; N Grisaru; D Budowski
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Case Reports; Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  The British journal of medical psychology     Volume:  69 ( Pt 3)     ISSN:  0007-1129     ISO Abbreviation:  Br J Med Psychol     Publication Date:  1996 Sep 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1997-01-29     Completed Date:  1997-01-29     Revised Date:  2004-11-17    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0370640     Medline TA:  Br J Med Psychol     Country:  ENGLAND    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  207-25     Citation Subset:  IM    
Faculty of Health Sciences, Beer-Sheva Mental Health Center, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel.
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MeSH Terms
Emigration and Immigration*
Israel / ethnology
Jews / psychology*
Mental Disorders / diagnosis*,  psychology*,  therapy
Middle Aged

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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