The culture-based syndrome I chose to research was Hwa-Byung, which is caused by the suppression of anger over a long period of time (even some cases up to 30+ years). Hwa-Byung is most commonly found in first generation older immigrant Korean women. These women come to the US for many different reasons such as following their children or spouse (especially if they married at a young age), trying to start over in a new country, or to find work. This move affects their financial stability and many lack medical resources and face language barriers after the move. These stresses and other triggers, such as unpleasant family situations (like a death in the family, spouse abuse or infidelity, or other family arguments), can eventually lead to Hwa-Byung. This syndrome often goes without a diagnosis because it is considered shameful or embarrassing to have it in the older generation of Korean culture. The symptoms include both psychological and somatic aspects. The psychological aspects include depression, irritability, paranoid feelings, and others while some somatic aspects are headaches, shortness of breath, tachycardia, blurred vision, lumps in the throat or chest, shortness of breath, and others. Hwa-Byung can be mistaken for depression because it shares a lot of the same symptoms like indigestions, palpitations, sweating, body aches, hot flashes, etc. Hwa-Byung is most commonly diagnosed by asking the patient a series of questions, such as what their symptoms are and how do they affect their daily lives, also by determining if they are currently experiencing any common stresses or trigger as mentioned earlier. It is treated by both pharmacological and non-pharmacological methods. Some methods including medication are anti-depressants, anti anxiety drugs, anti psychotic drugs, beta-blockers to treat palpitations and/or heat sensations, and other drugs. Other non-medication related methods include psychotherapy, relaxation techniques, social skill development, and others.
Choi, Myunghan and Hye‐A Yeom. 2011. “Identifying and Treating the culture‐bound Syndrome of Hwa-Byung among Older Korean Immigrant Women: Recommendations for Practitioners.” Journal of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners23 (5): 226-232. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1745-7599.2011.00607.x. http://ezproxy.msu.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/884681417?accountid=12598.