W1 Activity: Spirit possession

My definition of health is the state of well being in regard to your body and your mind. I believe illness can be defined as your perception of your body feeling abnormal or not baseline. The criteria that I used when evaluating whether something was considered an illness or not was based off of a combination of factors. When the terms cancer, anxiety, the flu, and migraines were mentioned, I related to personal experience to categorize them into illnesses, as these are all illnesses that someone in my family has experienced. Menstruation was something that I instantly thought of previous coursework and just general knowledge as being a normal cycle that involves bleeding and occurs in a females body every month to prepare for pregnancy.

Certain terms such as spirit possession and restless leg syndrome led me to think of the media when deciding which criteria to use. I think that “spirit possession” came from the mainstream media and was used as a method to create horror films that involve exorcism and such. It was a successful idea to create these movies because some people will believe that it is actually possible for demons or spirits can take control of a human body. Based off of my opinion, I do not think that spirit possession should be considered as an illness because it something that cannot be diagnosed by a medical professional nor can it be treated by them. In horror films they show priests treating the “possessed” individual, however I do not think this is something that is realistic.

ADHD is a condition that involves hyperactivity, impulsivity, and attention deficits in an individual. I believe that this is an illness due to the fact that it can have an affect on an individuals ability to learn and perform every day duties. If someone has this condition and does not seek treatment for it, it can potentially be harmful to themselves and prevent them from being as productive and alert as they could be.

4 thoughts on “W1 Activity: Spirit possession

  1. I think that it is interesting how you discussed ADHD in your activity. Upon doing my own research online I discovered article on how certain Asian cultures view ADHD. In Asian cultures children are much less likely to be diagnosed with ADHD, because of there isn’t much of a concept of it. In Thailand for example children are expected to behave in a quiet, respective manner especially in front of adults, thus the cases of ADHD are far fewer. People in Asian cultures tend to be more private about health issues that are related to mental health such as ADHD, so a parent may be more apprehensive in taking their child to a be diagnosed with ADHD. There is much more of a stigma associated with ADHD and a child’s hyperactivity or lack of attention can be taken as a reflection of someone’s parenting. For this reason many parents would avoid discussing ADHD with their peers as well.


    Moon, SeokYoung. “Cultural perspectives on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder:
    A comparison between Korea and the U.S. ” Journal of International Business and Cultural Studies. Accessed July 9, 2016.

  2. I have to agree with you on your definition, and description of why you think that ADHD is an illness. I myself think that it is an illness, because it can cause a decrease in one’s health, overall quality of life, and ability to learn.

    After doing some research, I have found that other cultures think the same of your definition. For example, in the UK, they too believe that it is a problem among children, and should be treated. In fact, in the UK, they believe that there is an under-treatment of children with severe activity. It says that there is a large number of children who are not treated and over looked. It is believed that this whole entire problem lies within the medical field, and not within pubic attitude of the disorder.

    According to another article ADHD is handled differently in Korean culture than in U.S. culture. ADHD is diagnosed and treated similarly between the two cultures, however, when it comes to its influence on social behavior it is quite different. In Korean culture, parents and teachers take the negative behaviors as a poor reflection of themselves, and don’t like the medication because it doesn’t provide an increase in academic achievement. On the other hand, U.S. parent and teachers don’t take complete responsibility in their child’s behaviors, and try to focus on their children’s problems, and how to treat it. The U.S. culture doesn’t mind the medication, and even is accepting of ‘third party engagement’ to better the children’s lives.

    Moon, SeokYoung. “Cultural perspectives on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: A comparison between Korea and the U.S.” Journal of International Business and Cultural Studies. Accessed July 10, 2016. http://www.aabri.com/manuscripts/11898.pdf

    Taylor, Eric, Timmi, Sami. “ADHD is best understood as a cultural construct.” The British Journal of Psychiatry. December 2003. Accessed July 9, 2016. http://bjp.rcpsych.org/content/184/1/8

  3. Reflecting upon the list of “conditions” provided in the activity and having to choose a culture with a different perspective, I was sure that the topic of Spirit Possession we be perfect. In fact, I already had a culture in mind, the people of Thailand. The Northern Thai specifically designate a whole 3-day celebration for Spirit Possession. It is voluntary and it is an honor. A spirit medium is someone designated to host the spirit within their bodies. The spirit consumes the hosts after the medium has undergone the designated rituals. The spirits invited to the celebration include family ancestors, spirit of the spirit house, spirit of the family house, and spirit of the feudal prince. Partygoers are communicating and interacting with these spirits through their designated mediums. The celebration is of course, a dance. The spirit mediums dance non-stop, especially when they are possessed. The possession usually involves women, though men may be involved too. The ceremony also includes an offering in order to honor the ancestral spirits. The pavilion where the spirit dance takes place is constructed with much detail and symbolism. It is constructed each time a spirit dance is held. I thought it was both interesting and ironic that in the Northern Thai culture Spirit Possession is an honor and celebratory. In our own culture Spirit Possession is portrayed as something to fear and seek medical help for.
    Marti Patel. “Trance Dancing and Spirit Possession in Northern Thailand.” Sanuk Word Press. Accessed July 10, 2016, https://sanuksanuk.wordpress.com/2010/11/19/trance-dancing-and-spirit-possession-in-northern-thailand/

  4. While I do agree with you that spirit possession is not an illness as it is impossible to diagnose and there has been no proven scientific evidence that is exists I do think it is a lot more than media fiction. It many cultures around the world it is viewed as a significant illness that could cause death. Even common illnesses such as a flu can be conceived in some cultures as a spirit possessing a person. For example, the Chuukese people of Micronesia. They believe in spirit possession causing people to act differently and disrupt the social order. This could be someone not listening to an official or breaking the law. They believe spirits made a person do wrong and must be treated by a local healer. Granted these symptoms are most likely caused by something else entirely but these people grew up knowing that spirits exist and can possess. The Chuukese people are also Christian, and believe that these spirits are connected to Satan causing them to be even more fanatical and seek out help. These people have believed in spirits for multiple generations, thus it is much more than just Hollywood fiction to write movies.

    Hezel, Francis. “SPIRIT POSSESSION IN CHUUK: A SOCIO-CULTURAL INTERPRETATION.” SPIRIT POSSESSION IN CHUUK: A SOCIO-CULTURAL INTERPRETATION. Accessed July 10, 2016. http://www.micsem.org/pubs/articles/socprobs/frames/spiritposschkfr.htm.

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