Psychiatric, cognitive functioning and socio-cultural views of menstrual psychosis in Oman: An idiographic approach

Nasser Al-Sibani, Mandhar Al-Maqbali, Sangeetha Mahadevan, Salim Al-Huseini, Muna Al-Muzeni, Samir Al-Adawi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Most documented cases of menstrual psychosis have been from Euro-American populations with reports from cross-cultural populations being only a few. A primary aim was to determine whether the cyclical/episodic nature of menstrual psychosis among case series observed at a tertiary care unit in Oman fulfills the diagnostic criteria of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) and diverge into Brockington's sub-types (World Psychiatry. 2005;4(1):9-17). Related aims were to solicit measures of psychometric functioning of those with menstrual psychosis and associated idioms of distress. Methods: A series of consecutive patients seeking psychiatric consultation from January 2016 to December 2017 were screened via structured interview-Composite-International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) and Brockington's sub-types. The identified patients (n = 4) also underwent psychometric evaluation including examination of affective functioning, intellectual capacity and neuropsychological functioning (i.e.attention and concentration, learning and remembering, executive function, processing speed and speech and language). The analysis of outcome measures was via an idiographic approach. Results: The spectrum of distress among people with menstrual psychosis does not fit existing psychiatric nosology. Evaluations revealed that a majority of the participants displayed something akin to morbid phenomena relating to manic and psychotic symptoms. In the parlance of traditional Omani society, this would be termed "spirit possession". In terms of classification by timing within the menstrual cycle as expounded by Brockington, the present case series in Oman fulfilled the definition of catamenial psychosis and paramenstrual psychosis. With regard to psychometric function, all participants performed adequately on indices of intellectual functioning but appeared to have impairments in neuropsychological functioning, including the dimensions of processing speed, episodic memory, and executive functioning. Within the given society, the periodicity of mind alteration has been attributed to spirit possession. Conclusions: This is one of the first case series of its kind in the country elucidating whether the manifestation of menstrual psychosis among individuals in Oman fulfills the subtypes postulated by Brockington. The present case series suggests that menstrual psychosis is marked with neuropsychological impairments that were previously observed in other phasic manic episodes or brief psychotic disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Article number215
JournalBMC Women's Health
Volume20
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 29 2020

Keywords

  • Menstrual cycle
  • Neurocognition
  • Psychotic disorders
  • Transcultural aspects

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology

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