W2: Explanatory model and related outcomes

People all around the world have different tradititional and cultural aspects that influence their everyday lives. This leads different countries, ethnicities and religions to have a different understanding of things like medicine, disease and mental illness(explanatory model). It can also be shown that even within different cultural, religious  and ethnic regions that different perceptions exist leading to different treatments. Different treatment models then leads to different social, political and health outcomes. This can be seen when looking at the different families with schizophrenia in Zanzibar, Tanzania.  When families included cultural aspects of treating disease including the ones of  Khadijah and Yusef, and Kimwana rather than just western medicine it seemed to have a positive impact. However, when a different family, the family of Shazrin and Abdulrida became critical of their family member having a mental disease and were more concerned about the burden it caused on themselves rather than genuine concern it seemed to have a negative impact on the afflicted socially and physically(McGruder).

The McGruder article shows that cultural aspect of treating disease, like recognizing traditional cultural spirits and taking a different attitude toward treating the disease can have a positive impact when combined with western medicine. However, I believe that the impact seen may be caused by something more similar to the placebo effect rather than actual biological results.  The cultural aspect being included eases their mind make them more willing to be treated by western style medicine. I believe western medicine has come a long way since inception and is the main factor in seeing beneficial results. Over the course of years the DSM has come a long way since the original model introduced by Freud. No doubt western medicine still has it issues like over prescribing and misdiagnosing as seen from the Metzel video but I still believe it is responsible for the majority share of the positive outcomes seen. The DSM has evolved from a reactionary and neurotics standpoint to analyzing brain chemistry to understand disease and find treatment(Gabriel-lecture).

Perception also has much to say in how and how well people are treated. Unfortunately when treating schizophrenia and other metal illnesses even medical professionals are vulnerable to stereotyping patients. According to Corrigan “In medical settings, negative stereotypes can make providers less likely to focus on the patient rather than the disease, endorse recovery as an outcome of care, or refer patients to needed consultations and follow-up services”(Corrigan). Thus proving the obvious, that western medicine has flaws as well. More importantly however this shows how perception can influence health outcomes in a different way than from a cultural standpoint. Not only do these perceptions affect the patients from a physical standpoint, but the stigma placed on mentally ill patients can have drastic social impacts as well.

Druss, and Deborah Perlick. “The Impact of Mental Illness Stigma on Seeking and Participating in Mental Health Care.” Association for Psychological Science RSS. Accessed July 15, 2016. http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/publications/mental-illness-stigma.html.

One thought on “W2: Explanatory model and related outcomes

  1. Michael,

    I liked how you discussed the McGruder reading, and acknowledged that the DSM has come a long way since its introduction. Though the cultural aspects that, I started thinking about how we incorporate this into a medical setting. I thought your point of “western medicine” doctors treating the disease and not focusing on the individuals as very interesting. The doctor’s own perception of the patients can affect the care they receive: for example, does the doctor notice their cultural beliefs and take them into account or is the patient simply a result of a chemical imbalance in their brains. I agree with you that there needs to be a combination of medical and personal approaches to mental illness treatments.
    I also thought more about perception. As you noted in the McGruder article, family views of the patient affected their recovery. In my blog post I discussed how the we stigmatize mental illness in the United States to the point of marginalization. We treat them as dangerous members of societies. Our treatments here seem sterile, especially if the patients have to religious outlets or cultural treatments or experiences to support them. I think that if you are looking at perception, the way to create a more supportive culture surrounding mental illness is to build a family support system, since that is the patients immediate “culture”.

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