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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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. More recently cases occurring amongst people of Spanish descent have also been reported. 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 eiknis frenzy, in which the victim “lose[s] consciousness, believe[s] that devils beat them and have sexual relations with them” and runs away.

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”. Traditional Miskito belief, says Dennis, holds that grisi siknis is the result of evil spirits or black sorcerers.

Symptoms of grisi siknis vary, but there is a distinct set of central characteristics. Most of the victims are young girls from 15 to 18 years old. This is a disputed fact, as not all cases involve sexual encounters. 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 siknjs certain societies”.


Grisi siknis – Wikipedia

Although grisi siknis behaves like a virus, researchers have gfisi been able to trace anything irregular in the blood samples of victims. Richard Castillo, as quoted by Dr.

George Boeree, believes that amok with very similar symptoms to grisi siknispibloktoq, latah, geisi out”, “indisposition”, and the “fits” are all related to impulse control disorders, and thus are associated with trichotillomaniacompulsive gambling, pyromania, and kleptomania in Western medicine. 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 psychogenic fugue.

Grisi Siknis in Nicaragua

Miskito tradition, according to Dennis, holds that grisi siknis is caused by possession by evil spirits. There is no definitively known cause of grisi siknis, although there are some theories which attempt to explain its origin.

Although it has not discovered organic cause, says Dennis, grisi siknis still “follow[s] the classic model for contagious disease”. Simons, professor emeritus of psychiatry and anthropology at Michigan State Universityas quoted by Nicola Ross in The Walrus magazine, upholds this argument, proposing that grisi siknis is caused by poverty and stress among the Miskito. Grisi siknis is generally only cured by traditional Miskito healing methods, according to The Journal of the American Botanical Council.

Cases of grisi siknis were registered in Nicaragua in March in Puerto Cabezas and Siuna where many students of the National Institute of Technology and other schools, suffered attacks.


Most of the victims were girls. The Miskito people argued that it was due to the action of black sorcerers to oblige the people to pay the expensive cures. 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 From Grsii, the free encyclopedia.

Grisi Siknis Among the Miskito”. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: Washington, DCUnited States: Toronto, OntarioCanada: The American Journal of Psychiatry. Cultural Politics and Health: University of Puerto Rico.

Archived from the original on 4 June Culture and Psychiatric Diagnosis: George 29 January In Simons, Ronald C. Folk Illnesses of Psychiatric and Anthropological Interest. Culture, Illness, and Healing. Dordrechtthe Netherlands: Culturally Competent Family Therapy: Westport, CTUnited States: Grusi expressions of the transition to adulthood among Miskitu adolescents” PDF.

Austin, TXUnited States: Retrieved 20 March Link retrieved on 20 March Retrieved from ” https: Mental and behavioural disorders Miskito Culture-bound syndromes. CS1 Spanish-language sources es Use dmy dates from January Views Read Edit View history. This page was last edited on 20 Mayat By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.