Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Immigrant Health

pp 1205-1207



  • Michelle FulkAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, University Hospitals Case Medical Center

Pibloktoq (Piblokto) also known as Arctic Hysteria, is an abrupt dissociative episode with four distinct phases. The first phase, or prodrome, may last hours to days and consists of irritability and social withdrawal. The second, or excitement phase, consists of the sudden onset of extreme and wild excitement. During this phase, the individual affected may be seen tearing off his or her clothing, shouting, throwing objects, and running out of doors with a noticed lack of sensitivity to the extreme cold. This phase typically lasts about 30 min. The third phase, convulsions and stupor, follows this excitement. The individual may have convulsive seizures followed by extreme somnolence or coma due to the fatigue produced by the excitement. This third phase may last up to 12 h. The fourth and final phase, or recovery, is notable by complete recovery. Complete amnesia for this event is typically reported.

Pibloktoq is noted to affect the Arctic and circumarctic populations, namely the Inuit E ...

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