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Perceptions and Causes of Psycho-Pathology

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In principle, psychopathology is the scientific study of mental disorders and their origin; in addition, this field of study examines the causes, development, and possible treatment for the disorders. Essentially, psychopathology encompasses three aspects that are considered as directly related to the mental disorders. These facets include the biological considerations, social issues, and psychological aspects of any mental condition. In fact, the initial perception of mental illness was associated with religious issues such as possession by demons and evil spirits. However, famous ancient physicians like Hippocrates and Plato would disrepute this perception gradually transforming the view of mental disorders and its causes (Gutting 2008). In this regard, the research into the causes of mental disorders would shift focus from the religious beliefs to a more scientific approach. In respect to modern day research on mental disorders, this essay attempts to investigate the perception and causes of psycho – pathology. Culture as a Factor Determining Psychopathology

Ostensibly, cultural beliefs, traditions, norms, and values have direct effects on the development of psycho- pathology (Rana & Sharma 2013). In effect, these impacts are referred to pathogenic cultural implications. Notably, cultural beliefs were entrenched in the human mind so much so that breaking any taboo was viewed as gross misconduct warranting mental illness. In this regard, cultural portrayal of mental illness was based on the breaking of a taboo. However, scientific research explains that it is the anxiety that follows the breaking of a taboo that causes the development of a mental disorder. Further, research shows that the kind of culture a mental patient comes from can largely affects the kind of professional help they seek. Similarly, the kind of culture that clinical officers in a mental hospital uphold largely affects the way they handle mental patients. Further, research ascertains that, while patients from less indulging cultures reported lack of energy, sad moods, and a general feeling of anxiety.

On the other hand, those from very strict cultural beliefs reported additional symptoms of guilt and somatic complaints. Evidently, these additional feelings of guilt and somatic complaints confirm the impact and the extent that religion and culture have on psychopathology. In effect, research has intensified the examination of cultural affiliations by concentrating on regional surveys. In this regard, specific symptoms of mental illness have been known to affect particular regions. The American Psychiatric Association has in this regard categorized various regions according to the predominant symptoms witnessed in the region. Essentially, this categorization has been referred to as cultural bound syndromes (APA 2000). The occurrence of these culture-based syndromes may seem similar to other notable disorders; however, a closer look reveals a unique characteristic in the culture bound syndromes. The habituation of psychopathology by culture is a notable aspect in pathogenic studies, essentially this refers to the ability that culture has in determining the cause of the mental disorder. The concept of psycho-selectiveness examines the influence that cultural variables has on a patient’s ability to manage stressors.

Cultural bound syndromes
A cultural bound syndrome is a disorder, which encompasses a combination of somatic and psychiatric symptoms that are characteristic of specific religions. In essence, the disorder does not cause any visible alterations to the body parts and more often, the disorder cannot be identified in other regions. Debatably, cultural bound syndromes are not voluntary behaviors and are categorized as deceases in specific areas. Moreover, there is a prevalent familiarity in a specific region; in contrast, the disorder is always alien to other regions. Observably, the disorder mostly treated and cured by the traditional medicine in the culture. Cultural bound syndromes can either cause somatic complains, or can be simply behavioral with no connection to any effect on the body parts. On the other hand, researchers may choose to suggest that cultural based syndromes represent behaviors that may be acceptable in certain regions (Wilkinson 2000). Conversely, this disorders maybe highly disregarded in other areas. Ataque De Nervios

Ataque De Nervios is an example of cultural bound syndrome among the Hispanics. Illustratively, the disorder is characterized by crying hysterically, rickety, out of control shouting, physical and verbal violence, and an extreme high temperature in the chest. Ostensibly, the disorder is said to be as result of attacks by evil spirits and demonic visitations. In essence, the symptoms are associated with stressful events such as the death of a loved one, a traumatic experience involving a loved one, divorce, or separation of in a marriage union. In this regard, this syndrome is only unique among the Hispanics, in other regions it may be viewed as a normal way of venting out anger. The Diathesis Stress Model

In principle, this theory seeks to explain behavior as a predisposition vulnerability that is coupled up by experiences that are stresses in life. The model takes consideration of the psychological, biological, and situational aspects in life that cause inherent vulnerabilities in a person. Fundamentally, stress refers to the events in life that presents an impact on a person’s psychological equilibrium. Consequently, this imbalance in the psychology of a person serves as a catalyst for a probable mental disorder. In this case, Diathesis interacts with the ability in person to react positively or negatively in a stressful situation, the result of which can suppress or increase the risk of developing disorder. In this respect, Diathesis stress model combines the aspects of genetic disposition and the stressors that are indicative of the environment to exuberate psychopathology.

Arguably, diathesis stress model intimates that if the combination of diathesis and stressors go beyond a certain level, then the person is likely to suffer the consequence of a disorder. The concept of nature and nurture in respect to susceptibility to psychological disorders is best evidenced in diathesis stress model. In this regard, diathesis stress model can in essence evidence who is the susceptibility to mental disorders. In this respect, the model attempts to reflect on the relationship between potential causes of depression and the extent to which a person is vulnerable to such exposure. According to this model, the level of vulnerability varies significantly from one person to another. In this regard, various aspects contribute to person’s vulnerability, for instance bipolar depression is caused by a significant, social, biological and psychological factors (Reiss, Deve & Neiderhiser, 2013). Sociological factors can serve to worsen the prevalence of a mental condition, for instance the social stigma associated with mental illness can act to propagate the illness. For instance, if a community lacks awareness of the underlying issues that pertain to the disorder, then it is probable that patient will be secluded and treated as a an outcast. This is retrogressive and perhaps serves to worsen the prevalence of the disorder can be curable.

In addition, factors such as alcoholism and cigarette smoking can worsen the disorder (Leventhal & Zvolensky 2015). Questionably, rather than the patient concentrating on the disorder and the recovery process, they indulge in practices that are in the end detrimental to their health. Biologically, there are genetic issues that can serve to worsen the condition of a person. In this regard, a person can develop symptoms of a mental disorder out of normal stressors of life. However, unlike the coping ability that different person may adopt, a person who comes from a family that has a history of mental illness may have adverse effects on his health. In this regard, the aspect of a mental disorder in the genes of a patient’s lineage can serve as a catalyst in fueling the adversity of a mental disorder.

Principally, the social notion of psychological disorders has significantly transformed, the society has made a paradigm shift from the traditional view of spiritual involvement in mental condition to viewing the disorder as one that is either, socially, psychologically, or biologically instigated. Moreover, the society now understands that there are curative measures for mental disorders. Dementia is a more recent example of a mental disorder; generally, it causes significant brain disorders that result lack of cognizance and a general deterioration in the daily routines of life. In general, the disorder causes memory loss, difficulty in language and attention deific minds. In addition, patients with the disorder are generally depressed and easily agitated. Conclusion

Culture is indeed a major factor in psycho- pathology; indicatively culture can either reduce the prevalence of the disorder or worsen it. On the same note, factors such the social, biological and psychological can combine to agitate a mental condition. This concept is expounded in the diathesis stress model. Moreover, culture has given root to the cultural bound syndromes that only occur in specific areas. Psychopathology explores how this the different aspects of nature and nurture combine to cause mental disorders.


American Psychiatric Association, (2000), Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision, DSM-IV-TR, Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association. Gutting, G.,( 2008), “Michel Foucault”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2008 Edition), Edward N, Zalta (ed.), URL = . Leventhal, A. M., & Zvolensky, M. J. (2015). Anxiety, depression, and cigarette smoking: A transdiagnostic vulnerability framework to understanding emotion-smoking comorbidity. Psychological Bulletin, 141(1), 176. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/1647825362?accountid=45049 Rana, D. K., & Sharma, N. (2013). Culture and psychopathology. Asia-Pacific Journal of Social Sciences, 5(1), 121-134. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/1516054490?accountid=45049 Reiss, D., M.D., Leve, L. D., PhD., & Neiderhiser, J. M., PhD. (2013). How genes and the social environment moderate each other.American Journal of Public Health, 103, S111-S121. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/1441259241?accountid=45049 Wilkinson, S.,( 2000), “Is ‘Normal Grief’ a Mental Disorder?”, Philosophical Quarterly 50: 289–304.

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