Should Alaskans be worried about ‘Arctic Hysteria?’ | Inuit Nunangat Stories |

A rare, more extreme disorder dubbed pibloktoq, or “Arctic Hysteria.” ...

The DSM entry for Arctic Hysteria reads as follows:

“An abrupt dissociative episode accompanied by extreme excitement of up to 30 minutes’ duration and frequently followed by convulsive seizures and coma lasting for up to 12 hours. This is observed primarily in Arctic and Subarctic eskimo communities although regional variations in name exist. The individual may be withdrawn or mildly irritable for a period of hours or days before the attack and will report complete amnesia for the attack. During the attack, the individual may tear off his or her clothing, break furniture, shout obscenities, eat feces, flee from protective shelters, or perform other irrational or dangerous acts.”

Sounds scary. But should Alaskans be worried about succumbing to “Arctic Hysteria?”

The bulk of reports of pibloktoq come from contact-era accounts of European and American explorers interacting with native populations of Greenland, rather than the populations of Alaska Natives or the Inuit that populate much of Canada’s northern regions.