Amok Syndrome. Qualified Perspectives on an Agressive Reaction of Pathological Impulsiveness in the Perpetration of a Double Crime with a Firearm
and Jorge González Fernández
Westermeyer defined Amok Syndrome in 1972 as a culture-bound syndrome consisting of a sudden and spontaneous explosion of wild rage, which causes the affected person to run wildly and if armed, indiscriminately attacks, wounds or kills anybody that appears in their way, until the subject is immobilized or commits suicide. The episode of homicidal attack is usually preceded by a period of worry, grief, and moderate depression; after the attack, the person is exhausted, sometimes with complete amnesia and eventually, but not always, ends up killing themselves. This article describes the case of a subject who, without a word, spontaneously and impulsively kills two subjects with a long-range firearm (shotgun). The concepts of pathological impulsivity of Impulse Control Disorders, Intermittent Explosive Disorder and the concept of “acting out” are reviewed, in order to explain the criminal behavior of the aggressor, which would be compatible with the concept of Amok Syndrome described by Westermeyer. ASEAN Journal of Psychiatry, Vol. 22 (S2): June 2021: 1-5.