In Southern Africa (especially the Shona group, in Zimbabwe), kufungisisa (meaning “thinking too much”) is the term employed for depression. Symptomatology is common, with typical somatic presentations: tiredness, sleep disorders, loss of appetite, and heartache (“My heart is painful because I think too much”). It is associated with a range of psychopathological diseases such as excessive worry, anxiety and/or depressive syndromes, panic attack, and irritability. Some atypical symptoms may be culturally explained, such as nightly visual hallucinations.

Such symptoms occur mainly with women, especially poor ones, refugees, and torture survivors (i.e., victims as well as witnesses) and are considered as indicative of interpersonal and social difficulties (e.g., marital problems, poverty, difficulty in taking care of children or the rest of the family). Other risk factors can ...

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