Culture and Psychosis

Psychosis has different meanings and outcomes in various cultures. It is a contested space, for it challenges a straightforward biological and/or psychological interpretation of psychosis, and addresses issues such as colonization, indigenous models, spirituality, as well as how political the personal is. Please find various links to videos and articles in this regard.      

A very famous and thought provoking article is from Norman Sartorius, Assen Jablensky, and Robert Shapiro:cross-cultural differences in the short-term prognosis of schizophrenic psychoses published in 1978 in Schizophrenia bulletin see Pdf. Psychosis has a better prognosis in developing countries.

More articles about the WHO study: 

Jablenski e.o., Schizophrenia: manifestations, incidence and course in different cultures A World Health Organization Ten-Country Study: This monograph presents the findings of a WHO Collaborative Study on the Determinants of Outcome of Severe Mental Disorders (DOS). The study was designed to investigate further some of the findings of the WHO International Pilot Study of Schizophrenia (IPSS) which produced the unexpected finding that patients suffering from schizophrenia in the centres in developing countries appear to have a more favourable outcome at both two and five years follow-up than initially similar patients in centres in developed countries see abstract and link to full text

Craig, Thomas J., et al. "Outcome in schizophrenia and related disorders compared between developing and developed countries. A recursive partitioning re-analysis of the WHO DOSMD data." The British Journal of Psychiatry 170.3 (1997): 229-233. see abstract

 
Phil Borges has an explanation for this phenomenum. He states that psychotic phenomena are comparable to the experiences of shamans see youtube. Accompanied by his stunning photographs, Phil Borges tells the story of visiting and meeting traditional seers in many parts of the world. For over thirty years Phil Borges has been documenting indigenous and tribal cultures, striving to create an understanding of the challenges they face. His work is exhibited in museums worldwide and his award winning books have been published in four languages. His most recent book, Tibet: Culture on the Edge highlights the effect of climate change and technology on Tibetan Culture. Borges teaches and lectures internationally and is co-founder of Blue Earth Alliance. See also his very rich and informative website crazywise parts of the world. For over thirty years Phil Borges has been documenting indigenous and tribal cultures, striving to create an understanding of the challenges they face. His work is exhibited in museums worldwide and his award winning books have been published in four languages. His most recent book, Tibet: Culture on the Edge highlights the effect of climate change and technology on Tibetan Culture. Borges teaches and lectures internationally and is co-founder of Blue Earth Alliance.  See also his TED talk: Psychosis or Spiritual Awakening
 

Chapters of books and articles about the relationship of culture and psychosis

Lambrecht , I. & Taitimu, M. (2012) Exploring Culture, Subjectivity, and Psychosis. In Geekie, J., Randal, P. Lampshire D. (Eds.) Experiencing Psychosis: First-person and research perspectives. London: Routledge, pp. 44-54. see google books

Frank Larøi e.a. Culture and Hallucinations: Overview and Future Directions, Schizophr Bull (2014) 40 (Suppl_4): S213-S220.

T. M. Luhrmann, e.o. Differences in voice-hearing experiences of people with psychosis in the USA, India and Ghana: interview-based study,The British Journal of Psychiatry Jun 2014 see Pdf

Ingo Lambrecht PhD,  2009, Shamans as Expert Voice Hearers see Pdf

Richard J. Castillo, Trance, Functional Psychosis, and Culture, Psychiatry, Interpersonal and Biological Processes, Volume 66, 2003 - Issue 1 see abstract

and frtom the same author Effects of Culture on Recovery From Transient Psychosis, Psychiatric times see start article

Kanyiswa G. Mzimkulu,Perspectives and Practices of Xhosa‐speaking African Traditional Healers when Managing Psychosis,  International Journal of Disability, Development and Education, Volume 53, 2006 - Issue 4: Indigenous and Complementary and Alternative Healing Practices see abstract

Neely Anne Laurenzo Myers, Toward an applied neuroanthropology of psychosis: the interplay of culture, brains, and experience, Annals of anthropological practices, Volume 36, Issue 1
Special Issue: Neuroanthropology and Its Applications May 2012 see abstract

An article in which the author tries to explain why black people have more psychosis: White denial, Black mental health and ontological insecurityfrom  www.racereflections.co.uk

And a lecture about relationship between psychosis theme and western culture: Dr. Ian Gold talks about the role of culture in psychosis. The popularity of the film The Truman Show has led a people who believe that they are part of a secret television show. Gold discusses social/environmental factors that have been shown to lead to schizophrenia, such as living in a large urban centres. What happens when we consider the large online community that we increasingly spend more time in? Part of the Summer Programme in Social and Cultural Psychiatry from the Division of Social and Transcultural Psychiatry at McGill University. see You Tube

Contrasting with this. What can people in Western countries learn from countries which are poor but have a sense of community?

Getting mental health care in America can be difficult. In Zimbabwe, it's near impossible.The country is home to 15 million people and only about 10 psychiatrists. For comparison, the United States has at least 24,000 psychiatrists. But depression and anxiety are not just a first world problem."Common mental disorders impose a huge burden on all countries of sub-Saharan Africa," said health researcher Dr. Dixon Chibanda in a press release. Zimbabwe has a secret weapon though: the Friendship Bench.

 the friendshiop bench

 

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