For the 1970s rock band Piblokto!, see Pete Brown & Piblokto!.

Piblokto, Pibloktoq or Arctic hysteria is a condition exclusively appearing in Eskimo societies living within the Arctic Circle. Appearing most prevalently in winter, it is considered to be a form of a culture-bound syndrome.

Symptoms can include intense hysteria (screaming, uncontrolled wild behavior), depression, coprophagia, insensitivity to extreme cold (such as running around in the snow naked), echolalia (senseless repetition of overheard words) and more. This condition is most often seen in Eskimo women. This culture-bound syndrome is possibly linked to vitamin A toxicity (hypervitaminosis A). The native Eskimo diet provides rich sources of vitamin A and is possibly the cause or a causative factor. The ingestion of organ meats, liver of arctic fish, mammals, where the vitamin is stored in toxic quantities can be fatal. Polar bear liver is one of the few toxic meat sources, for the reason discussed above.


Parker, S: Eskimo psychopathology in the context of Eskimo personality and culture. In: American Anthropologist, 1962, 64: pp. 76-96.

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