Research shows that suffering may differ depending on the culture and the surrounding of the person suffering. This research came up with four levels that can be used to analyze suffering systematically from the causes down to the consequences. These four levels can hence be used to analyze the difference in experiencing a specific disorder in varying cultures (Quambusch et al. 2014). Different communities may vary when it comes to defining what causes mental problems and this will go ahead to make the mentally ill person have an attitude hence shaping the experiences he will have. An instance is a research, which showed that European Americans consider mental disorders genetically inherited and one cannot just be mentally ill if in their lineage there, has never been such an occurrence. Indians on the other hand were trying to claim that mental illness is something, brought by demonic spirits or witches that is, evil eyes of some members of the society. They claimed that mental illness has no relation at all to the genetics of a person. Culture entails a lot and it is what makes the difference in races and groups. Cultural differences to some extent may create a barrier in dealing with situations and it is also crystal clear that culture can be incorporated into a process we refer to as acculturation.
The second level is the experience phase. In this phase, the researchers argued that suffering which in this case is mental illness will be experienced differently depending on the culture of a person. Cultural teachings on the source of suffering determine the behavior of a person from that community in case of a problem since they already have formed an opinion about how people with such problems behave (Quambusch et al. 2014). An instance of this is in the villages where mentally sick people walk around in villages’ and centers picking dirt alongside while in towns, mentally ill people in most cases walk around causing physical harm to whomever they come across. Because of culture, a mentally ill person in the village will not cause physical harm to anybody but will just walk around in rags picking dirty things alongside him while in town, they do not necessarily put on rags but they cause physical harm in most cases to people they meet along.
The third level of suffering is the level the expression level. This level speaks of people having different tastes in the same thing (Mijakoski et al. 2015). This level has two perceptions with it, first is the personal level where one experiences pain in a certain of the body and the other experiences the same problem but pain in a different part of the body. The other is public which determines how a person will relate his or her suffering to people surrounding him or her. Considering our topic of study, the mentally ill, we can say that different people will express the problem differently and the public as well will react differently. An instance in this level is a situation whereby American Indians never stigmatize the mentally ill individuals in most cases and they care for them while Asians do not want to associate with the mentally considering them shameful. The last level of suffering is the level of consequences. This level talks of the results of the suffering an individual has. For example in America, mentally ill people are taken to mental hospitals where they get the required medical attention while African Americans, they suggest will suggest other means of coming up with a solution but not medical. This difference is brought about by the difference in culture between Americans and African Americans.
Acculturation is the process of slowly learning and even incorporating customs, language, and even beliefs (Mijakoski et al. 2015). Most of the immigrants in America have slowly adapted to the American lifestyle and way of doing things that is, they have adopted the American culture. In my case, I will choose mental disorders among Muslims who have adopted the bicultural acculturation strategy. Bicultural acculturation is a scenario in which, one does not fully abolish his culture but comes up with a combination of the two cultures. We find that in the treatment of this group of Americans, the doctors will always prefer to first identify the cultural identity of the mentally ill person (Mu et al. 2015). He would then analyze the acculturation level, which in this case is bicultural, and lastly the religious identity of the person. In this case, the ill person will be put under a holistic treatment method in order to cover his religion, and then the modern US treatment formula for mentally ill persons will follow. These two treatment methods clearly bring out the difference in approach to ill persons and demonstrate the changes brought by acculturation.
Having disagreed with a patient’s preferred formula for treating a mentally ill person, as a medical practitioner, I would apply counseling as a method of coming up with a solution to this problem since, at the end of it all, the objective is to treat the illness. I would first identify the barriers and differences in diagnosis methods for mental illness in the two cultures, which in this case is my culture, and the patient’s culture. I would then try to utilize the culturally sensitive inventions considering his race and their language appropriately to help us come to a common ground before starting the treatment. I would lastly identify the resources available to help in eliminating the cultural barrier making us not agree on a favorable treatment method (Mu et al. 2015). By critically discussing these with patients, both of us will be convinced to come to terms and find a solution.
In summary, culture is very diverse and before judging others, you should know them well. Different races or rather groups of people are associated with different lifestyles and customs. One’s culture determines so many things in their way of dealing with things. You may find that the way Americans view death is different from the way Africans or Indians view the same.
Quambusch, M., Pirttilä, A. M., Tejesvi, M. V., Winkelmann, T., & Bartsch, M. (2014). Endophytic bacteria in plant tissue culture: differences between easy-and difficult-to-propagate Prunus avium genotypes. Tree physiology, 34(5)524-533.
Mijakoski, D., Karadzinska-Bislimovska, J., Basarovska, V., Montgomery, A., Panagopoulou, E., Stoleski, S., & Minov, J. (2015). Burnout, engagement, and organizational culture: Differences between physicians and nurses. Open access Macedonian journal of medical sciences, 3(3), 506.
Mu, Y., Kitayama, S., Han, S., & Gelfand, M. J. (2015). How culture gets embrained: Cultural differences in event-related potentials of social norm violations. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 112(50),15348-15353.