Customer Inserts His/her Name Customer Inserts Customer Inserts Grade Course (12, 04, 2011) The Effects of Culture on Psychiatry Introduction Culture has a huge role to play in human life as all social interactions are dictated by cultural values…
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Culture has a significant influence on health and perception of illnesses. Mental disorders are no different, in fact due to lack of awareness these disorders are not understood properly in all cultures. In this essay symptom presentation of mental disorders will also be discussed along side with the preventive and treatment approaches used by different cultures. All these things are important for a medical practitioner and will help him or her in providing optimal care to patients belonging to different culture. In this essay Indian culture, African culture, Chinese culture and Arab culture will be discussed and their effect on field of psychiatry will be elucidated. African Culture and its effect on Psychiatry Introduction African Continent is inhabited by around 1 Billion people and is home to different cultures and customs. Due to diversity of African culture it is important here not to over generalize anything. The people of Africa are not very developed and most of them live below or very close to the line of poverty. Poverty is an evil ubiquitous in Africa despite of the fact that continent is rich of natural resources. African continent is backward when it comes to education. There are not many avenues for higher education and therefore literacy rate is quite low. This is a very important point as it plays a key role in assessing mental disorders. Because of lack of education and knowledge health care information in general and mental illness information in particular is not widely known to the people of Africa. Mental Disorders and their Cultural Representation African culture is characterized by magical tales of spirits and superstition is prevalent in the culture. Magic is considered a reality and is a justification for a host of different events. Although urban regions have developed to a certain extent but still the common beliefs about sickness and diseases have not changed, and still illnesses are associated with evil spirits or with the bad actions of an individual (Okasha, A.2002). Mental disorders are also treated in a similar manner. They are considered to be sent by God or the evil spirit or Karma to punish people for their sins in the past or present life (BBC, 2002). African culture, with its belief system of superstitions and magic, easily externalizes mental disorder to supernatural beings. Reasons for Cultural interpretation of Mental Disorders There are many reasons for such lurid treatment of mental disorders. Firstly these disorders are ubiquitous in Africa because of inadequate nourishment and unhealthy lifestyle. There is not enough awareness about normal curable diseases like cholera and typhoid so focusing on mental disorder is not possible. The culture adds to this problem as it provides sensational justification about how ghosts or other supernatural creatures are the reason of mental disorders. Secondly the causes of mental disorders are considered supernatural because it is a way for African people to find answers (Okasha, A.2002). Human beings are always in search for answers in order to satisfy their inquisitional urges. Uncertainty is not desirable for anyone; not even the uneducated. Because African people cannot find any rational justification of the mental diseases they make up their own reasons and this is how they create their own, sub standard, realities. Symptoms Some of the common symptoms of mental disorde
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