Idioms of Distress

February 15, 2019
Idioms of distress are considered as a way a culture express stress, which includes signs and symptoms.

Per Lima, de Jesus & Razzouk (2015) meta-analysis research, they found a common description of the symptoms of the three main Hispanic and Latino idioms of distress, which are: Nervios, Ataques de Nervios y Susto.


Nervios word image

Nervios present somatic symptoms like:

  • Headaches and Muscle Aches
  • Sadness
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Insomnia
  • Decreased reactivity
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Tension
  • Worry
  • Agitation

ataques de nervios word image

Ataques de Nervios could be related to acute stress and may include:

  • Tremors
  • Palpitations
  • Uncontrollable screaming
  • Crying
  • Epileptic episodes
  • Blurred vision
  • Distress
  • Distemper
  • Depression
  • Feeling of heat raising from head to chest
  • Feeling suffocation
  • Feeling loss of control
  • Cold sweat
  • Dissociative states
  • Hysteria
  • Auditory hallucinations

susto word image

Susto are chronic symptoms attributed to soul loss and could include:

  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Trembling
  • Nightmares
  • Lack of motivation
  • Fear
  • Crying
  • Drowsiness
  • Sleeplessness
  • Feeling weak
  • Tired
  • Pale

Source: Lima Nogueira, B., De Jesus Mari, J., & Razzouk, D. (2015). Cultural -bound syndrome Spanish speaking in Latin America: The case of Nervios, Susto and Ataque de Nervios. Archives of clinical psychiatry (Sao Paulo) Vol. 42 (6).

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