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Schizophrenia: a Diagnosis Across Cultures Essay

  • Submitted by: degglef
  • on February 18, 2014
  • Category: Psychology
  • Length: 2,701 words

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Below is an essay on "Schizophrenia: a Diagnosis Across Cultures" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

Schizophrenia: A Diagnosis Across Cultures
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV (DSM-IV) defines the diagnostic criteria for schizophrenia as “a chronic, more or less debilitating illness characterized by perturbations in cognition, affect, and behavior, all of which have a bizarre aspect” (American Psychiatric Association, 2000). Schizophrenia is typified of having positive and negative symptoms. Positive symptoms are symptoms that are apparent and consistently present, such as delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech, and bizarre or catatonic behavior. Negative symptoms are symptoms that sometimes noticeable but usually mild, and are characterized by a lack or withdrawal of emotion, sometimes resulting in a “flat effect” (American Psychiatric Association, 2000). The fact that schizophrenia is defined in the DSM means that this is a disorder established in all cultures. However, just because a disorder is established or present in all cultures does not mean that different cultures view it the same way. The way schizophrenia is viewed in American Indian culture is very different from the way it is viewed in Western culture.
Research pertaining to mental health of American Indian cultures is limited due to the small population of 4.1 million in the United States (US Census, 2006). However, through even this small population, it can be seen that American Indian outlook on mental health in general is fairly different from Western culture. American Indian people have a wide range of beliefs about mental health. Physical complaints are often not distinguished from psychological complaints, and emotional distress is displayed in ways not seen to be consistent with standard diagnostic criteria from the DSM (Beals, 2006). It has been found that American Indians experience psychological distress one and a half more times than the general American population, and experience post-traumatic stress disorder twice more than the general...

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