Year : 2020  |  Volume : 62  |  Issue : 7  |  Page : 8-

DLN Murthy Rao Oration


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How to cite this article:
. DLN Murthy Rao Oration.Indian J Psychiatry 2020;62:8-8

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. DLN Murthy Rao Oration. Indian J Psychiatry [serial online] 2020 [cited 2021 Oct 21 ];62:8-8
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 History and Mystery of Dhat Syndrome: A look at the current understanding and the future directions.

Dr. T.S. Sathyanarayana Rao

Professor, Department of Psychiatry, JSS Medical College & Hospital, JSS Academy of Higher Education and Research, Mysore

E mail: [email protected]

Sexual Health is an important component of individual's health, is influenced by many complex issues including sexual behavior, attitudes, societal and cultural factors on the one hand and while on the other biological aspects, genetic predisposition and associated mental and physical illnesses. Sexual health is a neglected area, even though it influences mortality, morbidity and disability. The Dhat syndrome, the term coined by Dr. N.N. Wig has been in the forefront of advancements in understanding and misunderstanding. The Concept of Dhat syndrome is still evolving being treated as culture bound syndrome in the past to a syndrome of depression and treated as “a culturally determined idiom of distress.” It is bound with myths, fallacies, prejudices, secrecy, exaggeration and value – laden judgments. Though it has been reported from many countries, much of the literature has emanated from Asia, that too mainly from India. The research in India has ranged from study of a few cases in the past to recent national multi-centric studies concerning phenomenology and beliefs of patients. The epidemiological studies have ranged from being hospital based to population based studies in rural and urban settings. There are studies on management of individual cases by resolving sexual myths, relaxation exercises, supportive psychotherapy, anxiolytics and antidepressants to a broader and deeper research concerning cognitive behavior therapy. The presentation looks into Dhat syndrome as a model case highlighting the importance of exploring sexual health concerns in Indian population in general and in particular need to reconsider Dhat syndrome in the light of the new available literature. It makes a fervent appeal for inclusion of Dhat syndrome in the mainstream diagnostic categories in the upcoming revisions of the diagnostic manuals which can pave the way for a better understanding and management of Dhat syndrome and sexual problems.

Key words: Dhat Syndrome, Culture bound syndrome, Psychiatric comorbidity, Sexual disorders, Prevalence of Dhat Syndrome, Management of Dhat syndrome.