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issn:2229-340
1.  A PILOT STUDY OF FAITH HEALERS’ VIEWS ON EVIL EYE, JINN POSSESSION, AND MAGIC IN THE KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA 
Background:
Faith healers usually offer unorthodox therapies to their clients who present with an array of physical and psychological symptoms suggestive of the evil eye, jinn possession, and magic.
Objective:
This exploratory pilot study aims to analyse the pattern of narrated symptoms and treatments given by faith healers practising in the Al-Qassim region, Saudi Arabia.
Method:
Forty five faith healers who consented to this study were given a predesigned, self-administered, semistructured questionnaire to collect the relevant data.
Results:
Notably, most faith healers have a poor repertoire of psychiatric symptoms, which could not specifically differentiate the three spiritual disorders. They tend to recommend an array of therapies rooted in religious concepts for the treatment of their clients who, they claim, show substantial improvement in their mental suffering.
Conclusion:
The revealed symptomatology of each disorder alone may not be specific but it certainly helps them not only to identify these disorders but also to prescribe unconventional therapies. Future research should look systematically into the diagnostic and treatment methods for these disorders.
PMCID: PMC3425750  PMID: 23012035
Faith healers; spiritual disorders; unorthodox therapies; jinn possession; evil eye; magic
2.  A COMPARISON OF PSYCHIATRIC REFERRALS WITHIN THE TEACHING HOSPITAL WITH THOSE FROM PRIMARY CARE AND GENERAL HOSPITALS IN SAUDI ARABIA 
Objective:
This study aims at examining the pattern of psychiatric referrals with particular reference to (1) age and gender (2) source of referrals and (3) diagnosis of referred patients within a teaching hospital
Method:
Four hundred and twenty seven referrals (n=427) for psychiatric consultation within KKUH were selected prospectively by systematic randomization over a period of one year, and were compared with a general hospital (n=138) and primary health care (n=402) psychiatric referrals to a mental health facility.
Results:
The age of referred patients across the three settings differed significantly and the male patients were slightly over-represented in the teaching hospital referrals. Pediatric clinics in the teaching hospital constituted significant sources of psychiatric referrals as compared to the general hospitals. Schizophrenic disorders and acute psychoses were significantly less among teaching hospital referred patients, whereas anxiety and mood disorders were much more common among teaching hospital and primary care patients. The number of personality disorders diagnosed in teaching hospital settings was significant.
Conclusions:
In Saudi Arabia, sources of psychiatric referrals and diagnostic patterns of mental disorders differ across the three levels, and this is comparable to international research on psychiatric referrals. Besides exploring other aspects of referral process, researchers at the three settings should carry out follow-up studies to assess the impact of psychiatric consultations on the global outcome of referred consultees.
PMCID: PMC3430168  PMID: 23008681
Psychiatric referrals; primary care; general hospitals; teaching hospital; diagnostic pattern; psychiatric consultations; referred consultees; mental health facility
3.  FACTITIOUS DISORDER IN SAUDI ARABIA: A REPORT OF TWO CASES 
Factitious disorders are characterized by physical or psychological manifestations that are intentionally produced or feigned with no apparent external incentives in order to assume the sick role. These disorders are rarely reported or may be under-reported in Saudi patients. We describe here two male and female Saudi cases of such disorders. Both presented predominantly with features of Munchausen's syndrome. Like most psychiatric patients both had sought help from traditional healers prior to their reporting to the hospitals. Inspite of the socio-cultural factors, it is clear that doctors’ awareness and acceptance of the possibility of factitious disorders is a prerequisite to making the diagnosis.
PMCID: PMC3437074  PMID: 23008597
Factitious disorders; cultural factors

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