Culture-Bound Syndromes: Brain Fag

Brain fag syndrome (BFS), first identified by Raymond Prince in 1960, is described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition, as a culture-bound syndrome that is endemic to West Africa. It is an anxiety disorder in which somatic symptoms, primarily involving heat or crawling sensations in the head, are caused by excessive intellectual effort. Other symptoms include difficulty concentrating, appearing tense and unhappy, and sleep disturbances. Most symptoms are associated with or exacerbated by attempting to study or, in more severe cases, attempting to read any printed material. Specifically, the disorder is thought to occur when non-Westerners are educated in a Western system.

Since BFS was first identified, it has been found across sub-Saharan Africa from Nigeria to Uganda and South Africa. ...

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