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Week 7 - Mental Health.docx

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University of Waterloo
Igor Grossmann

Week 7: Mental Health On Sorrow, Celebrity Status, and Modern Terrorist Warfare The Sorrows of Young Werther - Written in 6 weeks by Goethe - Key novel of the Sturm und Drang period - Influenced the later romantic literary movement - Partially autobiographic The Plot - Werther –a sensitive young artist travels to a village and is enchanted by the simple peasant lifestyle o He falls in love with Lotte, who is engaged to and get married to somebody else o After some torturing months, Werther takes his own life Cultural Impact - Made Goethe the first international literary celebrity almost overnight o One of the biggest fans –Napoleon Bonaparte - Werther-Fever o Dress-style o Emotionality and appreciation of simple life o Copycat suicides around Europe - Impact on: o Frankenstein o Karl Pearson –his first book was called “The New Werther” o German romanticism Japanese Students in 1940s - Passionate readers of German Romanticism novels - Sacrifice as a noble and beautiful act - Kamikaze pilots –over 2500 Japanese pilots sacrificed themselves What Counts as a Disorder? - Psychological disorders are defined as rare behaviours that somehow impair the individual - Problem –what type of impairment is problematic, and what if a behaviour that is rate in one context is not rare in another? - Indeed, some psychopathologies are more prevalent or manifest in highly different forms across cultures Syndromes - Relativist position o Culture-bound syndromes demonstrate culture basis of some psychopathologies - Universalist position o Universal syndromes highlight the biological basis of these psychopathologies  Still, prevalence and manifestations of these disorders may differ across cultures 1 Culture-Bound Syndromes - Experiencing a culture-bound syndrome generally requires one to have cultural beliefs associated with the syndrome - E.g., South Asian men may suffer from dhat o Being susceptible to dhat requires that the person have the relevant beliefs that relate semen, sexual activity, morality, and health Hikikomori - Patient drops out from the social world, barricading himself/herself up in a room for years o Indicates the cause may be failure to succeed in a social world that has few options for those who don’t fit in - Does not conform to criteria for any DSM-IV-R diagnoses - Approximately one child per classroom in junior high and high school is afflicted - Largely not existent in pre-war in Japan, and uncommon in other cultures Anorexia/Bulimia Nervosa - Anorexia –an individual’s refusal to maintain normal body weight due to preoccupation with their body o Evidence of culture-bound status –huge increase in rates of anorexia this century; primarily found in only some cultures o Evidence of universality –reports of self-starvation in numerous cultural contexts, but not due to body image - Bulimia –uncontrollable binge eating; Individual then takes inappropriate measures to prevent weight gain o Absent in most cultures of the world, making it a culture-bound syndrome (especially in cultures where food is not abundant) Koro - Morbid anxiety about one’s penis shrinking into one’s body - Primarily found in South and East Asia - It is unclear what aspects of culture have led to the emergence of koro - Koro-like symptoms have been found in some individuals in West African cultures, as well as in individuals in American culture who have had negative marijuana-induced experiences Amok - Acute outburst of unrestrained violent and homicidal attacks, preceded by brooding, followed by exhaustion and amnesia - Most common in Southeast Asia - May result from having no acceptable means to express function - “To run amok is to get drunk with opium…to sally forth from the house, kill the person or persons supposed to have injured the amok, and any other person that attempts to impeded his passage” –Captain Cook 2 Compare Amok vs. School Shootings - Western ones are pre-meditated Other Culture-Bound Syndromes - Frigophobia –morbid fear of catching cold o Found largely in China o People avoid cold air and eating cold food, dress with several layers - Voodoo Death –person is convinced a curse has been placed on them or they have broken a taboo o Results in severe fear reaction which may lead to death Universal Syndromes - Culture-bound syndromes demonstrate cultural basis of some psychopathologies - Universal syndromes highlight the biological basis of these psychopathologies o Still, prevalence and manifestations of these disorders may differ across cultures Depression - Depression is found in every culture, although prevalence varies across cultures - According to the DSM-IV-R, major depressive disorder is diagnosed if one has at least 5 of 9 symptoms, including: o Depressed mood o Inability to feel pleasure o Fatigue/loss of energy o Feelings of worthlessness/guilt o Suicide - Depression prevalent rates can be as high as 44% in the US - In contrast, the rate in China is about 1/5 of that observed in the West - One proposed rationale for this is due to 2 different manifestations of symptoms o Somatization –symptoms are primarily physiological, such as loss of appetite o Psychologization –symptoms are primarily psychological, such as depressed mood 3 Neurasthenia - Many Chinese psychiatric patients are diagnosed with neurasthenia - Neurasthenia –poor appetite, headaches, insomnia, inability to concentrate - Neurasthenia was dropped from the DSM because symptoms were more physiological than psychological - Some have argued that most Chinese neurasthenia actually qualify for depression, even if only 9% of them report feeling depressed - Depression in Chinese thus seems to manifest through somatization rather than psychologization o
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