Topic #4 - Mental Illness in CrossCultural Perspective...

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12/2/10 Mental Illness in Cross- Cultural Perspective
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12/2/10 Cross-Cultural Psychiatry The study and comparison of mental illness and its treatment in different cultures and social groups. One of the major branches of medical anthropology. Valuable source of insight into the nature of health and ill-health in different parts of the world.
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12/2/10 Research Research in this field has been carried out primarily by two different types of investigators. Western-trained psychiatrists who have encountered unfamiliar syndromes of psychological disturbance in parts of the non- Western world. Cultural anthropologists, whose interests have been definitions of
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12/2/10 These approaches share a concern with two types of The diagnosis and treatment of mental illness where health professionals and patients come from different cultural backgrounds The effects of mental health on migration, urbanization, and other forms of social change, as well as poverty and deprivation.
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12/2/10 Illness, not Disease The focus of cross-cultural psychiatry is on mental illness rather than disease. That is, it is less concerned with the biological aspects of psychological disorders, and more with the psychological, behavioral, and cultural dimensions associated with them.
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12/2/10 Culture and Mental Illness Culture influences normality and abnormality in a particular society Culture defines the difference between abnormality and mental illness Culture may be part of the cause of certain mental illnesses It influences the clinical presentation
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12/2/10 Culture determines the ways that mental illness is recognized, labeled, explained, and treated by other members of society, including health professionals.
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12/2/10 The Comparison of Psychological Disorders Marked variations in cultural definitions of normal and abnormal make it difficult to compare mental illness in different groups and societies. We can ask several questions as medical anthropologists: Can we speak of some aspects of behavior as normal or abnormal to al
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12/2/10 Can the prevalence rates of mental illness in different cultures be compared? Why are certain forms of mental illness more common in certain parts of the world than others? The answers to these questions determine whether mental illness can be diagnosed and treated cross- culturally.
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12/2/10 The Problem of Comparing Mental Illness in Different Do we apply Western clinical evaluations of patients to different cultures? Or do we examine the perceptions by various cultures of those they regard as mentally ill? Three main approaches to this problem: biological, social labeling, and the combined approach.
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The Biological Approach This approach sees the diagnostic categories of the Western psychiatric model as being universally applicable to all of mankind, despite variations by cultural factors, since they have a biological basis. According to psychiatrist Kiev’s view,
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Topic #4 - Mental Illness in CrossCultural Perspective...

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