Background Dhat syndrome or semen-loss anxiety is characterized by vague somatic symptoms of fatigue, weakness, anxiety and loss of appetite. Sufferers experience guilt attributed to semen loss through nocturnal emissions, urine and masturbation resulting in hypochondriasis, anxiety and depressive symptoms.
Aims The study aims to evaluate the presence of depression among patients with Dhat syndrome and compare beliefs on issues related to sexuality between patients with Dhat syndrome and a control group.
Methods Thirty two patients with Dhat Syndrome attending the psychiatry clinic of a general municipal hospital in India and 33 healthy males accompanying other patients to the clinic were administered a questionnaire regarding sexual myths and misconceptions. Depression was assessed using Beck’s depression inventory (BDI).
Results All patients with Dhat syndrome were diagnosed as having depression on the BDI total score whereas only 30% of the controls fulfilled criteria for depression. There was a significant difference in the mean BDI scores between the two groups. Myths and misconceptions on sexual issues were identified in both cases and controls, though they were less common in the control group.
Conclusion The findings suggest a strong association between Dhat syndrome and depression. There is a need to assess depressive symptoms in patients with Dhat syndrome. The findings also suggest a need to educate the public regarding issues related to sexuality and the Dhat syndrome.
How to Cite:
Sawant, N.S. and Nath, A., 2012. Cultural misconceptions and associated depression in Dhat syndrome. Sri Lanka Journal of Psychiatry, 3(1), pp.17–20. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/sljpsyc.v3i1.4455