The health disparity I chose is social anxiety disorder. I chose this because I have experience with it in my family. The bars on the far left represent social anxiety disorder.
According to the Mayo Clinic, social anxiety disorder is a chronic mental health condition in which everyday interactions cause irrational anxiety, fear, self-consciousness, and embarrassment. This disorder has psychological symptoms like fear, avoiding situations, worry, etc., and physical symptoms like increased heart rate, nausea, muscle tension, etc. While most people experience this from time to time like when giving a big presentation, for example, social anxiety disorder is chronic and the affected person knows that their feelings are irrational. Like many other mental health cases, the cause of social anxiety disorder is not simple. It is the result of both genetics and environmental experiences. Treatment plans often include counseling, SSRIs, and learning techniques to control stress. These are often done in combination, though not all are needed.
It has often been seen in the past that anxiety disorders are less common in minority groups. According to Asnaani et al. “Several studies have noted the differences between levels of anxiety in communities aligning themselves with more collectivistic values, where focus on maintaining harmony within the group is of the highest priority, as compared to those adhering the more individualistic cultural attitudes, where individual achievement are most highly valued and rewarded by the rest of the social group.” Breslau et al. suggests that ethnic identification and religious participation may be protective factors that could explain the lower risk of psychiatric disorders in general. Like most psychiatric disorders, social anxiety disorder is very complex and it will take a lot of research to understand the differences in prevalence rates.
The relationship between race, genetics, and health is complex and often misunderstood. In the past it was believed that different races were actually different species. This is not a popular theory today but it is often assumed that there are distinct genetic differences between races. This is leading to the racialization of medicine. One example of this is the heart drug Bidil, which was advertized as being specifically for African Americans. The research on this is questionable as to how they proved its increased efficacy in African Americans compared to other races. There are several other non-genetic factors that can cause health disparities, which have trends along socially constructed racial lines. These include socio-economic status, education, income, wealth, and neighborhood. These socially constructed racial lines are often confused with “genetic racial lines”.
JOSHUA BRESLAU, SERGIO AGUILAR-GAXIOLA, KENNETH S. KENDLER, MAXWELL SU, DAVID WILLIAMS and RONALD C. KESSLER (2006). Specifying race-ethnic differences in risk for psychiatric disorder in a USA national sample. Psychological Medicine, 36 , pp 57-68 doi:10.1017/S0033291705006161
ANU ASNAANI, J. ANTHONY RICHEY, RUTA DIMAITE, DEVON E. HINTON, and STEFAN G. HOFMANN (2010). A cross-ethnic comparison of lifetime prevalence rates of anxiety disorders. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 198, pp 551-555 doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e3181ea169f