Ataque de Nervios
The Spanish term ataques de nervios, translated as “attacks of nerves” and as described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition (DSM) of 1994 glossary of culture-bound syndromes, refers to an “idiom of distress” found among many Latin American and Latin Mediterranean groups. The term “idiom of distress” describes the expression of a range of symptoms, which despite their variable presentation (see below), communicate a message whose meaning is shared within a given culture. Thus, an “ataque de nervios,” which can appear as a quiet panic attack, a crying spell or as a violent pseudoseizure, above all, is labeled as such by the affected individual and clearly recognized by other members of that individual’s culture as expressing acute discomfort, anguish, and/or actual or perceived impairment in individual or interpersonal functioning necessitating assistance to that individual.
Ataque de nervios first appeared in the North American psychiatric...
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- Guarnaccia, P. J., Lewis-Fernández, R., Pincay, I. M., Shrout, P., Guo, J., Torres, M., et al. (2009). Ataque de nervios as a marker of social and psychiatric vulnerability: Results from the NLAAS. International Journal of Social Psychiatry, 10, 1–12.Google Scholar
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- American Psychiatric Association. (2010). Mental health: A guide for Latinos and their families. http://www.healthyminds.org/Document-Library/Brochure-Library/Mental-Health-A-Guide-for-Latinos-and-Their-Families.aspx?FT=.pdf (This web-based brochure contains a section on Ataques de nervios).