Susto (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈsusto], Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈsuʃtu]) is a cultural illness primarily among Latin American cultures. It is described as a condition of "chronic somatic suffering stemming from emotional trauma or from witnessing traumatic experiences lived by others".


Among the indigenous peoples of Latin America, in which this illness is most common, susto may be conceptualized as a case of spirit attack.[1] Symptoms of susto are thought to include nervousness, anorexia, insomnia, listlessness, fever, depression, and diarrhea.[2]


Treatments among indigenous people are natural. Some natural treatments to susto consist of using plants as medicine; sweating out the toxins; and massaging to encourage blood flow. Prayer is a big part of the treatment of susto. In addition to prayer, healing rituals are also used, some of which include sweeping and giving gifts.


Susto may be a culturally dependent variation of the symptoms of a panic attack, which is distinct from anxiety and depressive disorders.[2]

See also


  1. ^ Castillo, Richard (1997). Culture & Mental Illness: A Client-Centered Approach. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole Publishing Company
  2. ^ a b Razzouk D, Nogueira B, Mari Jde J (May 2011). "The contribution of Latin American and Caribbean countries on culture bound syndromes studies for the ICD-10 revision: key findings from a work in progress". Rev Bras Psiquiatr. 33 Suppl 1: S5–20. doi:10.1590/S1516-44462011000500003. PMID 21845335.

Further reading