To explore the current salience of ‘brain fag’ as a nosological, diagnostic and clinical construct in modern West African psychiatry. A semi-structured questionnaire and vignette based on classical symptoms of brain fag syndrome were used to explore current knowledge, explanatory models and practice among Nigerian psychiatrists.
Of 102 psychiatrists who responded, 98% recognised the term ‘brain fag syndrome’ and most recognised the scenario presented. However, only 22% made a diagnosis of brain fag syndrome in their practice preferring diagnoses of anxiety, affective and somatic disorders.
A decreasing number of Nigerian psychiatrists are making a diagnosis of ‘brain fag syndrome’. We found strong evidence of nosological and diagnostic decline in the syndrome in its place of birth. This may signal the early extinction of this disorder or nosological metamorphosis from a ‘culture-bound’ syndrome in West African psychiatric practice.
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