Mental Health As A Whole And It 's Differences Cross Culturally Essay

Mental Health As A Whole And It 's Differences Cross Culturally Essay

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When confronted with the topic of psychological abnormality, typically one will think that it is fairly simple to explain and define. However, nailing down an explicit definition is not as easy as one may think. Saying that it is an action or persistent pattern of thought that is outside of the norm is far too vague to have any impact on the field of psychology, or help anyone who may be struggling with a disorder. Furthermore, when introducing a broader scope of understanding abnormal psychology and mental health, the variability of different cultures makes this all the more challenging. This essay will explain mental health as a whole and it’s differences cross culturally. Included will be an analysis of culture bound syndromes and the speculation that anorexia nervosa may be included in this field.
So, although there is no universally accepted definition of psychological abnormality, though specific abnormalities or disorders can be defined, there are common features that are shared to explain it. These aspects include deviance, distress, dysfunction, and danger. Deviance is considered as drastic nonconformity to behaviors, thoughts, and emotions that the society deems or views as necessary to proper functioning within it. It is a deviation from the social norms of that culture. If the person is inhibited in normal functioning and the symptoms of their disorder are unpleasant or upsetting to the person, this can be categorized through feature distress. Dysfunction is classified when the behaviors caused by the disorder interfere with the person’s daily functioning, and/or his ability to participate in daily activities in a constructive manner. Lastly, if the person’s actions pose a risk of harming others or harming...


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On the other hand, what should be looked at in a case where it is not clear if a disorder can be classified as a culture bound syndrome. We can see this struggle when studying eating disorders. This paper will focus on anorexia nervosa, although the symptoms of anorexia and bulimia nervosa are moderately consistent. Evidence in support of anorexia nervosa as a culture bound syndrome shows that rates of the disorder have been increasing over the past 50 years. The dramatic increase in cases of this disorder is attributed partly to changing cultural norms; thin bodies are portrayed and promoted as attractive. Furthermore, another aspect that may indicate that this is a culture bound syndrome is that the disorder is more prevalent in societies with Western cultural influences, over those that have little exposure to this culture and its ideals (Heine, 465).

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