This paper seeks to understand the outbreaks and the development of grisi siknis , a form of mass spirit possession among the Miskitu of. Miskito villages line the Atlantic coasts of Nicaragua and Honduras. Nietschmann ( 47) estimated the number of Miskito speakers in Nicaragua at in. Grisi siknis (which literally means “crazy sickness”), is characterized by long periods of anxiety, dizziness, fear, and irrational anger. The most.

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Toronto, OntarioCanada: Dordrechtthe Netherlands: He claims that his treatment, which involves local plants and ancestral rituals, cures most sufferers in 15 to 30 days. Grisi Siknis is a very prevalent illness for the people of the Miskito tribe. The Nicaraguan government sent a medical team to Raiti including anthropologists and traditional healers. The medical team has taken samples of water from local wells and recommended that people only drink coconut juice until they have tested the supply.

Grisi Siknis in Nicaragua | ANP Introduction to Medical Anthropology (Summer )

Westport, CTUnited States: Culture is something that I feel makes us very unique depending on where we come from and the traditions and beliefs we choose to follow. Culture and Psychiatric Diagnosis: An advantage to labeling the illness as a CBS is to make it more well known. However, when viewed in a more contemporary context and cross-cultural perspective, grisi siknis shows similarities with other forms of involuntary mass spirit possession, particularly in the ways it is manifested, experienced and appears to be spreading.

The paper shows that socio-economic, cultural, personal as well as environmental factors all contribute to outbreaks of grisi siknis. I agree with the fact that illness does not only involve the interruption of your physical health but also your mental state.

I believe culture is the sharing of beliefs and values within a group of people. Some scholars in the country conclude that it is due to the extreme poverty that the Miskito people endure and that was worsened by Hurricane Felix of September And because of this, Grisi is considered a disease. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. University of Puerto Rico.


Culturally Competent Family Therapy: Miskito tradition, according to Dennis, holds that grisi siknis is caused by possession by evil spirits.

The affliction has previously been considered a ‘culture-bound syndrome’ only occurring among the Miskitu. Even though it is not clear why or how the illness exactly comes about, it is clear sknis it is attacking a certain location and group of people.

The outbreak of the malady, known as grisi siknis in the local Miskut language, began in the Raiti community near the Honduran border a month ago.

Nicaragua village in grip of madness

The Miskito people argued that it was due to the action of black sorcerers to oblige the people to pay the expensive cures. Traditional Miskito belief, says Dennis, holds that grisi siknis is the result of evil spirits or black sorcerers. Archived from the original on 4 June Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: Earlier documented outbreaks typically involved a few adolescents, however, in recent years, violent large-scale epidemics have taken place, involving many people of all ages.

This Post Has 2 Comments. Most of the victims were girls. Washington, DCUnited States: I feel like this illness should be considered a CBS because I think that the ways of life of the Nicaraguan people may cause them to go into these madness episodes. During the attacks, sufferers attempt to flee their communities with their eyes closed, seizing any weapon they can sikniw with which they appear to try grrisi defend themselves against invisible attackers.

I believe this illness should be considered a culture-bound syndrome. The causes of grisi siknis are unknown, says the American Psychology Associationbut the prevailing Western theory calls this syndrome a “psychological disorder due to stress, upheaval and despair”.

Nicaragua village in grip of madness | World news | The Guardian

Retrieved from ” https: Simons, professor emeritus of psychiatry and anthropology at Michigan State Universityas quoted by Nicola Siknls in The Walrus magazine, upholds this argument, proposing that grisi siknis is caused by poverty and stress among the Miskito. July 20, at 7: Joseph Westermeyer, Head of Psychiatry at the University of Oklahomastates that a culturally bound syndrome is defined as “certain trance-like disturbances [that] occur with unusual frequencies in certain societies”.


Although it has not discovered organic cause, says Dennis, grisi siknis still “follow[s] the classic model for contagious disease”. Group discussions, narratives and informal and semi-structured interviews were carried out, as well as participation in healing rituals. According to the American Psychiatric Association, a Western medical condition similar in many aspects to culturally bound syndromes, particularly the “running” syndromes, of which grisi siknis is part, is dissociative or siknid fugue.

Grisi siknis in Miskito languagefrom the English, means “crazy sickness” is a contagious, culture-bound syndrome that occurs predominantly among the Miskito People of eastern Central America and affects mainly young women. Mr Taylor is one of five healers sent to Raiti, where 25 of the 60 sufferers are said to be responding well to treatment.

Mr Alvarado said a medical report carried out in the late s after a similar outbreak concluded that deliberate contamination of wells was one possible cause. Many were successfully treated by a healer, Carlos Vrisi Taylor, who is part of the team now working in Raiti.

Community leaders in Raiti claim the outbreak of grisi siknis is the result of a curse. Leave a Reply Cancel reply You must be logged in to post a comment. Most of the victims are young girls from 15 to 18 years old. Symptoms of grisi siknis vary, but there is a distinct set of central characteristics.

Grisi siknis is a very serious health problem for Miskito people. Other cases have appeared in three other nearby communities. Link retrieved on 20 March I thought that this sickness was very interesting to read about because it reminded me of someone basically having a nervous breakdown. Cultural Politics and Health: Phil Dennis of Texas Tech Universitygrisi siknis is typically characterized by longer periods of anxiety, nausea, dizziness, irrational anger and fear, interlaced with short periods of rapid frenzy, in which the victim “lose[s] consciousness, believe[s] that devils beat them and have sexual relations with them” and runs away.