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Running Head KORO The Nature of Koro A Culture-Bound Disorder Culture-bound syndromes CBSs comprise a diverse set of illness phenomena that the DSM-IV defines as recurrent locality-specific patterns of aberrant behavior and troubling experience that may or may not be linked to a particular DSM-IV diagnostic category Many of these patterns of behavior are indigenously considered to be illnesses or at least afflictions and most have local names Koro is one such culture-specific psychiatric disorder occurring primarily in southeast Asia whose main feature is acute anxiety attributed to the fear of genital retraction People with Koro syndrome usually men believe that complete disappearance of the genital organ will result in death Kovacs Osvath 1998 A typical episode will occur when a man goes to urinate in the cold or when emotionally upset often due to guilt over masturbation or frequenting prostitutes while concerned about his sexual performance or after a fight with his wife The individual may attempt to grasp his genitals in order to prevent them from retracting or use mechanical devices such as cords chopsticks clamps or small weights Rosca-Rebaudengo et al 1996 The clinical description is characterized by three phases a prodromal phase a penile shrinking phaseand a recovery phase The prodromal phase includes somatic symptoms such as vertigo genital pain or numbness and diarrheathe penile shrinking phase is marked bygenital numbnessdiscomfort on urination accompanied by panic reactionsand the recovery phase includes fears of continuing impotence and genital shrinkage Suwanlert Coates 1977 Episodes may strike the same individual repeatedly and epidemics have been noted most famously the great Koro epidemic in Singapore in 1967 Cheng 1997 The credit for the very first report of Koro in a Western medical journal goes to Dr JC Blonk in 1895 Chowdhury 1998 At that time
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