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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 199-200
Anorexia, a bad feeling caused by the smell of meat, and spirit possession as Kuan Yin Goddess

1 Bangkok, Thailand
2 Hainan Medical University, Haikou, Hainan, China; Dr. DY Patil Medical University, Pune, Maharashtra, India

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Date of Web Publication3-May-2016

How to cite this article:
Wiwanitkit S, Wiwanitkit V. Anorexia, a bad feeling caused by the smell of meat, and spirit possession as Kuan Yin Goddess. Ann Trop Med Public Health 2016;9:199-200

How to cite this URL:
Wiwanitkit S, Wiwanitkit V. Anorexia, a bad feeling caused by the smell of meat, and spirit possession as Kuan Yin Goddess. Ann Trop Med Public Health [serial online] 2016 [cited 2020 Jun 7];9:199-200. Available from:
Dear Sir,

Spirit possession is an interesting psychosomatic disorder. This form of psychosomatic disorder is strongly related to local spiritual beliefs and traditions. In Thailand, an Indochina country, there are many cases of spirit possession each year and females are more affected than males.[1] Those cases are usually not medically treated by medical personnel but managed by local folklore practice.[2] Trangkasombat et al. studied many Thai cases of spirit possession in Thailand and concluded that “being first-born from a small family, individual vulnerability especially psychiatric disorders, problematic character traits and dissociative tendency were significant risk factors in the development of possession states.”[3] Here, the author presents an interesting case of spirit possession in a middle-aged (a 37-year-old) Thai female. The case was presented to the physician at a family medicine clinic with the complaint of anorexia and a bad feeling caused by the smell of meat for 1 month. The patient noted that she could not bear the smell of flesh and had vomited, whenever she was in contact with the smell. She also noted weight loss (4 kg) within 1 month. Focusing on her past history, she had no personal illness but had the history of complaints of insomnia and anxiety treated by anxiolytic drugs. At present, she is a widow with one son (aged 8 years). She works as an officer in a small company. This case was investigated by general medicine and an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist, who found no disorder. Finally, this case was sent to the psychiatrist. By in-depth psychiatric investigation, this patient revealed an interesting history that she felt that she was sometimes overwhelmed by the holy spirit of goddess Kuan Yin (a famous Mahayana Buddhist goddess who is widely worshipped in Thailand). She said “I am the spirit mediumship of Kaun Yin Goddess to help ones who suffer from any unhappiness.” This case was finally diagnosed to have the psychosomatic problem of spirit possession. The explanation of the complaints of “anorexia” and “a bad feeling caused by the smell of meat” in this case can be according to the local belief that the Kuan Yin Goddess is a goddess that strongly practices strict vegetarianism. In fact, spirit possession by holy Buddhist gods and goddesses is sporadically seen in Thailand. The manifestation is usually periodical and strongly relating to the local religious and superstitious beliefs.

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There are no conflicts of interest.

   References Top

Suwanlert S. Psychiatric treatment in Thai spirit possession. J Med Assoc Thai 1978;61:622-6.  Back to cited text no. 1
Wear D, Nixon LL. The spirit catches you and you fall down: A Hmong child, her American doctors, and the collision of two cultures. Acad Med 2001;76:620-1.   Back to cited text no. 2
Trangkasombat U, Su-Umpan U, Churujiporn V, Nukhew O, Haruhanpong V. Risk factors for spirit possession among school girls in southern Thailand. J Med Assoc Thai 1998;81:541-6.  Back to cited text no. 3

Correspondence Address:
Somsri Wiwanitkit
Wiwanitkit House, Bangkhae, Bangkok - 10160
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1755-6783.181659

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