Dhat syndrome: Culture bound, separate entity, or removed
S. M. Yasir Arafat
Dhat syndrome is a culture bound syndrome of the Indian subcontinent, although this has often been debated. Although it is being researched for more than half a century, there is still no clear definition of Dhat syndrome and characterized by excessive preoccupation with the loss of “Dhat,” which is generally taken to be representing semen and attribution of physical and psychological symptoms. It is usually seen in young, unmarried, or recently married men of rural background with conservative attitude toward sex, generally belong to low or medium socioeconomic status and education level. It can be treated with anxiolytics, antidepressants, as well as psychological interventions such as psychoeducation, sex education, counseling, and cognitive behavior therapy. There is long debate regarding the nosological position of the disease and recent call for attention of psychiatrists in the subcontinent to revisit the nosological status of Dhat syndrome with an unbiased mind. Further, systematic studies on the phenomenology of Dhat syndrome is needed to clarify it, especially keeping in mind the extent of the problem in the subcontinent and the distress and dysfunction it results in.