Wendigo Psychosis

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Abstract

Introduction: Wendigo psychosis is considered an endemic psychiatric disorder associated with culture. It manifests through compulsive, strong attacks of cannibalistic behaviors. It mainly concerns Algonquian: Cree tribes and people living in the Northern Ojibwa area.

Material and methods: In our article, we have collected available publications on Wendigo’s psychosis. This area included Internet databases: PubMed and Google Scholar, from the first reports on the disease to the latest information. Due to culture-bound syndromes and the rarity of occurrence in the present time at work, we focused not only on symptoms, treatment or diagnosis, but also on historical and ethnographic features.

Discussion: The first remarks on this disorder derive from the Powhatan dictionary which was used by the Algonquian tribe. In the 1960s there were 70 cases of the disease, but the available epidemiologic data is poor. There are many legends about the mythical creature Wendigo and its likeness is repeatedly used in popular culture. Most of the symptoms exhibited by those suffering from this dysfunction is related to famine and chronic loneliness, e.g. apathy, neurosis.

Summary: The treatment of the psychosis in the past was based on folk beliefs, as well as homicide. Modern medicine offers a wide spectrum of antipsychotic drugs whose use is focused on the elimination of side effects. Pharmacotherapy consists in administering to the sick drugs from the group of benzodiazepines or antipsychotic agents of both the first and the second generation.

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