Depression and PMS culturally determined rather than biological diseases?

Depression and PMS culturally determined rather than biological diseases?

An interesting article that backs up the research showing that many Asian cultures (eating a plant-based wholefood diet, with a little fish, and good health lifestyle habits), have lower (or zero) levels of depression and PMS.

The Guardian reported on Monday May 20, 2013 that:

“A growing number of psychiatrists suspect mental conditions are ‘culture-bound syndromes’ rather than exclusively biological.  Diagnostic categories such as ‘depression’ are cultural constructions, not global certainties…  And two weeks ago the British Psychological Society released a statement claiming that there is no scientific validity to diagnostic labels such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder”

In a recent editorial in the British Journal of General Practice, Professor Christopher Dowrick argues that depression could be a western culture-bound syndrome, rather than a universal disorder.  In support of his case, Prof Dowrick notes the lack of consensus in psychiatry over what even constitutes depression: the endless shifting of diagnostic goalposts”

“In 1987, Thomas S Johnson claimed that the symptoms were an expression of “conflicting societal expectations” on women”

“In 2012, a meta-analysis of published research failed to find evidence that negative mood correlates to the pre-menstrual phase of the menstrual cycle.  And earlier this year, a qualitative study found that a “cognitive reframing” of the symptoms could reduce self-reported pre-menstrual distress”

“I think the distinction between ‘biological’ and ‘social’ causes can get tricky.  Lots of human practices that are clearly culturally patterned – child-rearing practices, diet, and sleep patterns, for example – affect our biology” says Dr Rachel Cooper, author of Classifying Madness.

Full article here:





Posted: Monday 27 May 2013