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Author(s) Kon, Yan
Year 1994
Title Amok
Published in The British Journal of Psychiatry, Vol. 165, No. 5
Pages 685–689
DOI 10.1192/bjp.165.5.685
Abstract Background: Amok is reviewed from a historical standpoint, tracing how it has changed from the Hindu states of India where it was a war tactic to the sudden incomprehensible violence and mass murder by a single individual associated with the syndrome today.

Method: A typical amok attack is described and the criteria for amok discussed. Amok in Malaysia, New Guinea, Laos, North America and other countries are presented. The possible motives for such violent killings and a possible psychiatric diagnosis in relation to contemporary diagnostic criteria is discussed.

Conclusion: Classification of amok remains unresolved. The reason for its frequency in and around Malaysia remains unknown.

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