Culturally-sensitive complaints of depressions and anxieties in women

University of Santiago, Chile, CiudadSantiago, Santiago Metropolitan, Chile
Journal of Affective Disorders (Impact Factor: 3.71). 10/2007; 102(1-3):159-76. DOI: 10.1016/j.jad.2006.09.033
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Current classifications of Mental Disorders are centered on Westernized concepts and constructs. "Cross-cultural sensitivity" emphasizes culturally-appropriate translations of symptoms and questions, assuming that concepts and constructs are applicable.
Groups and individual psychiatrists from various cultures from Asia, Latin America, North Africa and Eastern Europe prepared descriptions of main symptoms and complaints of treatment-seeking women in their cultures, which are interpreted by clinicians as a manifestation of a clinically-relevant dysphoric disorder. They also transliterated the expressions of DSM IV criteria of main dysphoric disorders in their cultures.
In many non-western cultures the symptoms and constructs that are interpreted and treated as dysphoric disorders are mostly somatic and are different from the Western-centered DSM or ICD systems. In many cases the DSM and ICD criteria of depression and anxieties are not even acknowledged by patients.
The descriptive approach reported here is a preliminary step which involved local but Westernized clinicians-investigators following a biomedical thinking. It should be followed by a more systematic-comprehensive surveys in each culture.
Westernized concepts and constructs of mental order and disorders are not necessarily universally applicable. Culturally-sensitive phenomena, treatments and treatment responses may be diversified. Attempts at their cross-cultural harmonization should take into consideration complex interactional multi-dimensional processes.