Psychiatry Investig Search


Psychiatry Investigation 2004;1(1):21-4.
Hwabyung (火病) - An Overview
Bou-Yong Rhi, MD, PhD1,2;
1;Professor Emeritus, Seoul National University College of Medicine, 2;Director, C. G. Jung Institute of Korea
<p class="MsoPlainText" style="word-spacing: 1; line-height: 150%; margin-top: 0; margin-bottom: 0" align="left"><font face="HY중고딕" size="2">Studies of Hwabyung have been carried out by many different disciplines in order to clarify the concept, the clinical features and the psychocultural aspects of Hwabyung. Most investigators agree that the Hwabyung patients are older married women with a lower level of education as compared with those who have not been touched by this sickness. Hwabyung group manifested a prominent number of comorbidity of somatization disorder with major depression and generalized anxiety disorder according to DSM IV criteria. 'Lump in throat or chest' was frequently mentioned by the patient. The explanations of people on Hwabyung suggest some influences from the concept of traditional Korean medicine and the primitive way of thinking. Seen from the results obtained from investigations so far Hwabyung seems to be a folk designation to the sufferings which are believed to occur by the accumulation of anger, rage, or grudge. It comprises actually many different mental disorders and various types of syndromes which require treatment appropriate to each condition. The questions whether Hwabyung is specific to the Korean culture and whether it is warranted for recognizing Hwabyung as an unique syndrome are still not yet fully answered. More extensive individual case studies and in-depth discussions also in crosscultural aspects seem to be desirable.

Key words   Hwabyung;Review;Culture-bound syndrome;Korea.
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Hwabyung (火病) : Korean Culture-related Syndrome2004 March;1(1)


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