oa Central African Journal of Medicine - Psychiatric disorders as recognised by the Shona

Volume 13, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0008-9176



( 1) The African recognises that mental disease may manifest itself in different forms, which he has tried to classify according to the type of spirit affecting the individual. (2) Whilst each spirit can cause a variety of mental breakdowns or symptoms, those due to the witch are on the whole the most serious, protracted and least likely to be cured. This is not, always so, as mental backwardness caused by the ancestral or family spirits can carry a bad prognosis. (3) The Shona recognises that at times the individual recovers completely, relapses or never improves, but he does not appear to classify mental disease into neurotic and psychotic disorders. (4) Shona treatment is based entirely on suggestion. This is an important feature of the technique adopted. (5) Hallucinations may at times be thought to be real and the visual or auditory apparitions sent by a spirit.

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