Current psychiatric categorization systems believe running amok to be an uncommon cultural-bound condition, however there is evidence that it happens often in modern industrialized society. Psychiatric studies have shown that many people who go on violent sprees are not mentally ill but rather suffer from personality disorders or extreme emotional states such as depression or mania.
The concept of "going mad and running wild" comes from the English language. Amok means "without restraint or moderation," and this condition has parallels with other cultures' descriptions of similar behaviors. For example, in Japan sekkatsu-no-kane (literally "ocean of blood") was used to describe violent outbursts by its victims. The Irish had oícheanna, which meant "mad days." Germans have Braunau am Inn ("naked road"), while Mexicans have tal vez marrano ("maybe Jew"). Even today, certain cultures describe angry, violent individuals when they say they are "out of control."
Going amok can also mean "to run around naked," which is what certain African tribes did when someone went crazy. This behavior is still reported among certain tribal groups in Indonesia and Australia.
Amok usually refers to violence directed against others, but it can also mean attacking oneself.
Amok is a condition or pattern of behavior recognized in Southeast Asia (Malaysia, Philippines, and Indonesia) that is marked by abrupt outbursts and frantic violent acts following a time of brooding and stillness. Amok is generally triggered by sentiments of desperation, envy, or shame.... The term "amok" comes from the Indonesian word for "mad," which is used to describe someone who has been pushed over the edge into violence.
In the West, we use the term "tantrum" to describe a child's violent outburst. However, this term may not be accurate because tantrums are usually controlled behaviors that serve a purpose. By contrast, running amok is uncontrolled violence that cannot be prevented by reason. Running amok can happen at any age but it is most common in children between the ages of 3 and 10. Although men can also run amok, women are typically responsible for bringing up children in Asian cultures which could explain the difference in rates between the two sexes.
People sometimes confuse running amok with other mental disorders or behaviors involving violence. While there are some similarities, they are not the same thing.
Yap's definition of amok points to either a psychotic sort of despair or a dissociative condition. Most nations had witnessed violent conduct akin to "amok" by the time Yap made his remarks. In Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Singapore, aborigines would go on murderous rampages without reason or excuse. In 1721, an Indonesian tribe called the Matuhi fought a three-day battle with another tribe called the Balinese, killing almost all the men and boys and burning most of the villages on the island on which they lived.
Amok means "without restraint" in Malay. It is a form of violence that lacks any kind of moderation or self-control. Amokters often kill people they do not know or dislike; sometimes, they even try to kill themselves too. Although amokting is usually done in response to something upsetting in the victim's life, there are cases where it is not clear why someone attacked others without reason.
In Japan, amok driving was very common between 1615 and 1868. The term came from the sound that cars made when they ran over animals in the street; it is said that drivers acted like they were "wild with rage". During this time, there were many murders and suicides caused by amok drivers who went around killing everyone in their path.
The following elements should be regarded as increasing a risk for amok based on psychiatric literature studies and evidence from recent case reports of violent behavior: A history of psychosis, previous bouts of violent conduct or making violent threats, recent personal losses, violent resemblances to ancestors, alcohol intoxication at the time of offense.
Amok has been defined as "a sudden violent rage without apparent reason." The term comes from the Japanese word for "uncontrolled," which is derived from the body language of monkeys. In English-speaking countries, it was first used to describe an incident in which a man attacked people with his bare hands in 17th-century Japan.
There are two types of amok: Maniacal amok and epileptic amok. In both cases, the cause is similar: Amok can be triggered by extreme stress, such as witnessing a death or being beaten up by someone you know. This stress can also make existing medical conditions worse, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or epilepsy.
In maniacal amok, the person shows no signs of depression or other mood disorders. They are just in a state of uncontrolled violence due to a severe mental illness. Psychiatric diseases associated with manic amok include bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. People who suffer from these illnesses are more likely to commit acts of violence during their manic episodes.
Syndrome of cultural confinement signifies recurring locality-specific patterns of abnormal conduct and distressing experiences prevalent in folk belief and practice Amok. Dissociative episodes are followed by violent outbursts aimed against individuals or things. Patients with this disorder believe that what they do is right, but they feel guilty about it. It may be caused by a physical illness or injury to the brain, or it may be psychological.
Amok was first used in print in 1838 by the Dutch psychiatrist Frederik van Eeden. He described it as a dangerous mental condition that often led to death. Amok behavior includes flying objects, attacking others, etc.
People who engage in amok behavior believe that what they are doing is right, but they feel guilty about it.