Sudha Chavda. Hillingdon
Part 3

Cultural differences in attitude to psychiatric treatment

Mental disorder evokes fear. To a normal person, "MAD" people are frightening, because 'you never know what they will do next'. They are perceived as dangerous and violent. In Asian community, no one goes to a psychiatrist unless they are "MAD" and no one is designated "MAD" unless they are violent. This link between violence and madness affects the nature of psychiatric hospitals in third world countries, which are fairly dreadful places and are the places of last resort. Mental disorder carries a dreadful stigma and also induces shame in the family as well as the sufferer. It is more easy to admit physical illness than mental as it suggests failing in upbringing or common belief that 'insanity runs in families…'Amongst Asians, magical and supernatural explanations are often put forward for mental Disorder. They strongly believe that it is possible for one human being to influence and transmit the health or well being of another by action at a distance and that some people are particularly skilful at doing this. The other explanations put forward for mental disorder include inheritance; deliberate poisoning by an enemy, unbalanced diet, and climate. Any mental abnormality in a young unmarried man or woman may be attributed individually to sex and the suggestion is often made that the marriage would solve the problem. In the Eastern society there is a strong belief " that all events have a place within the supernatural logic and there are unseen forces at work" and illness like madness gives rise to the suspicion that it's victim is an unfortunate person and thus avoid becoming too closely involved with such person or his family.

I think I will stop here, in my next article I will continue to write about culture differences, and attitude to mental illness. Till then bye!

Migration Dislocation The Need to succeed Culture and concepts of mental illness Culture
The control of deviance Cultural differences in attitude to psychiatric treatment
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