Hwabyung or Hwabyeong (depending on transcription) is a syndrome that is only known form Korea. It is a (sort of) mental illness which arises when people are unable to confront their anger as a result of conditions which they perceive to be unfair.
Hwabyung is known as a Korean culture-bound syndrome. In a survey, 4.1% of the general population in a rural area in Korea were reported as having hwabyung[1].

The etymology of the word hwabyung is a combination of hwa (the Sino-Korean word 火 for fire which can also contextually mean anger) and byung (the Sino-Korean word 病 for syndrome or illness).

Physical symptoms include palpitations, anorexia, dry mouth, insomnia, (imagined) thoracic or chest pressure, respiratory difficulties, epigastric mass, headache, a whole-body sensation of heat (distinct from heat intolerance, and a symptom of hyperthyroidism).

Psychological symptoms include being easily startled, externalization of anger, also known in Korean as bun (憤, "eruption of anger"), a Korean culture-related sentiment related to social unfairness, generally sad mood, frequent sighing, a feeling of eok-ul (抑鬱, [feeling of] unfairness), being easily agitated, feelings of guilt, and feelings of impending doom.

Diagnosed patients may also have a medical history of prior major depressive disorder. Strangely, they are most likely to be middle-aged, post-menopausal women with low socio-economic status.

Because hwabyung is a culture-bound syndrome one would imagine to point to the stress of the Korean work ethics. Korea has one of the highest average work weeks and overtime hours in the world. With their rigorous work ethic, one can expect employees to go beyond their own standards to keep up, resulting in continuous stress.

The syndrome is believed to be the result of the continued repression of feelings of anger without addressing their source.

Min: Hwabyung in Korea: Culture and Dynamic Analysis in World Cultural Psychiatry Research Review - 2009

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