Cultural Issues: Introduction | Concepts, Components, and Essential Features of Culture | Cultural Statement for the Introduction to DSM-IV-TR | Specific Cultural Considerations in DSM-IV-TR Diagnostic Categories | Cultural Formulation | Culture-Bound Syndromes | Proposed Classification of Culture-Bound Syndromes
in DSM-IV-TR | Cultural Factors in Nonadherence to Psychotropic Medications1 | Culture and Psychotherapy | Conclusion | Key Points | Suggested Readings | References
Culture is important for psychiatric diagnosis
and treatment because it provides the context in
which patients interpret their experiences and imbue them with meanings.
Culture constructs the psychiatric experience of the individual, provides
the template for an individual's idiosyncratic interpretation
of mental phenomena, and shapes their unique expression in each
individual's setting. Thus, culture defines for the patient
the intrinsic meaning of the illness experience, helping him or
her to make sense out of what is usually a chaotic situation. Because
each individual could be considered an epitome of his or her cultural
product and achievement, and because culture varies from place to place,
the presentation of mental symptoms may vary among individuals and
across cultural groups.