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becomes dysfunctional, disorganized and confused. Typical reactions also include being unresponsive to surroundings, weeping, refusing to speak or eat. The person can also toufe (suffocate). Individual reactions to the illness greatly vary and influence the duration of sezisman, which can last a few hours or a few days. In the case of sezisman, relatives will help the person to rest, drink herbal teas, apply cold compress on the person’s forehead, and might recommend visiting a spiritual healer such as priest, pastor, oungan or manbo.

Endispozisyon (‘indisposition’) refers to spells of weakness, fainting or ‘falling out’ that may occur with emotional distress, especially when pain and suffering become unbearable (Philippe & Romain, 1979). In folk theory, endispozisyon is thought to be due to hot or bad blood. Endispozisyon is more common among women; for example, a woman may faint when she receives bad news about a loved one. Some bodily illnesses (e.g. menstrual cramps, pain) may also cause endispozisyon.

Pèdisyon refers to a culturally recognized condition in which a woman is thought to be carrying a child but the progression of the pregnancy has stopped (Coreil, Barnes-Josiah, Augustin, Cayemittes, 1996). The pregnancy begins normally but, according to folk theory, at some point the uterine blood is diverted from the fetus, which stops growing. This may occur after what biomedical practitioners would identify as a miscarriage or in situations of infertility (Murray, 1976). The condition of arrested pregnancy may persist for months or years. Although the woman believes she is still pregnant, when biomedically this is not the case, the condition differs from pseudocyesis, in that others also accept the reality of the pregnancy. Pèdisyon is generally a collective diagnosis reached by a woman, her family and peers, and may allow infertile women to claim the status of “being with child” or act as a way of attributing paternity to prior partners (Murray, 1976). In may also provide an explanation for female mortality associated with blood loss, tumors or otherwise unknown causes.

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