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October 13, 1978

Dysesthesia, Witchcraft, and Conversion Reaction: A Case Successfully Treated With Psychotherapy

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, NC.

JAMA. 1978;240(16):1742-1744. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03290160060024

An intelligent, well-educated black woman from the rural South, through an interaction of psychopathology and cultural background, experienced dysesthesia as a conversion reaction and came to believe that she was the victim of witchcraft. After neurological evaluation showed no abnormalities, she was successfully treated with conventional psychotherapy. Belief in hexing or root work is still alive today and should be inquired about in patients with unusual symptoms and an appropriate cultural background.

(JAMA 240:1742-1744, 1978)