The Differences Between Western And Other Forms Of Medicine

2227 WordsJul 4, 20169 Pages
Culture is social phenomena which includes practices, discourse and material expressions, which, over time, convey the continuities and discontinuities of societal life held in common (1). Every culture has their own values, norms, religions and an almost common outlook on everything. This includes, but is not limited to, their take on acceptable clothing, moral code of conduct, gender roles and of course, mental illnesses. Not every culture is very open to the idea of psychiatric conditions or anything deviating from the norm. Some cultures have psychiatric conditions exclusive to just them. While, as it is in most cases, the conditions remain relatively similar across cultures. The stark difference is in the nomenclature. The diagnosis and treatment of mental illnesses in various cultures have been the focus for the last few decades. The ‘new cross cultural psychiatry’ has brought to light the major differences between Western and other forms of medicine. Cultural relativists argue that one cannot separate the person’s mental illness from their social and cultural background. Whereas, the universalists believe that the biological explanation of these illnesses surpasses culture. Although, both of these theories agree that culture does in fact, play some role in the aetiology and functioning of the disorders (2). Anthropological orientations have been judgemental to use the Western form of diagnosis in non-western cultures. They have insisted on regional classifications
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