2003 issue 4

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Volume 12, issue 4

Review article

Koro – culture-bound or universal syndrome? Review of the literature and case report

DARIUSZ ŁAGUNA1, DOROTA NAPIÓRKOWSKA-ŁAGUNA1
1. Samodzielnego Publicznego Psychiatrycznego Zakładu Opieki Zdrowotnej im. Stanisława Deresza w Choroszczy
Postępy Psychiatrii i Neurologii, 2003, 12 (4), 457-468
Keywords: koro, culture-bound syndromes, case report

Abstract

Koro is an acute anxiety state with an accompanying sensation of shrinking of genitals and a belief about being faced with imminent death due to their complete disappearance. This syndrome is classified among culture-bound mental disorders. Its prevalence is the highest in South-Eastern Asia, but there is a continually rising number of reports about similar cases among patients with different cultural backgrounds. On the grounds of the literature (mostly case reports) the state-of the-art knowledge about the koro syndrome is summarized in the article. Similarities and differences between the endemic and occasional forms of the syndrome are discussed, as well as its concurrence with other mental or somatic disorders, nosological doubts concerning the syndrome and its psychopathological symptoms, possible accompanying urological complications, its place in current classifications of mental disorders, patient characteristics, and the treatment.

Case report. Additionally a case is reported of the koro syndrome in a Polish patient – to our best knowledge, for the first time in the Literature. It is a further evidence for the ethnic and cultural diversity of patients suffering from this condition.

Comment. We agree with the postulate set forth by other authors – that against the traditional views, koro should be regarded as a universal disorder of multi-factorial etiology, occurring all over the world.

Address for correspondence:
Dr Dariusz Łaguna, Samodzielny Publiczny Psychiatryczny Zakład Opieki Zdrowotnej
im. Stanisława Deresza, Plac Z. Brodowicza 1, 16-070 Choroszcz