Post Partum Depression

I just wanted to make a comment about the medicalization of diseases in other countries such as depression. In a recent book I read, Crazy Like Us by Ethan Watters, the author sets out to analyze globalization of American psychiatry. There was a consistent theme across all of the case studies presented dealing with different types of disorders (anorexia nervosa, schizophrenia, PTSD, and depression)-that the DSM is not culturally sensitive and therefore cannot apply towards other societies. For instance, the DSM refers to depression having x, y, and z symptoms but in another country, these symptoms (x, y, and z) may just be the cultural norm and depression, in that society, actually has symptoms of a, b, and c. As in with Japan, introversion is a prized characteristic and well respected whereas in the US, introversion is not a prized personality trait. Yet in the DSM for depression, introversion is one of the symptoms listed. Therefore, taking the DSM criteria to diagnosis depression in Japan might lead to misdiagnosis of individuals.

This caution is to say that we cannot be quick to judge other society’s rates of post partum depression. These rates assume that the symptoms listed in the DSM are universal when there is heavy evidence this is not the case. This affects the way that post partum depression is treated in each of the society. With the misconception that the disorder is experienced the same way, individuals with post partum depression will never get treated properly since their actual symptoms were not recognized correctly in the first place. I think more attention needs to be placed for diagnosis of psychiatric disorders and put it in the context of society rather than having an universal system. This will help address the correct symptoms and signs of the disorder. However, as stated in Hannah’s presentation, there seems to be an importance of support systems with being a pregnant mother. This seems to be universal as the support system allows the mother to connect with other mothers with their issues.

Source: Crazy Like Us by Ethan Waters

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