Indian Journal of PsychiatryIndian Journal of Psychiatry
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Year : 2011  |  Volume : 53  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 111-120

Indianizing psychiatry - Is there a case enough?

Department of Psychiatry, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India

Correspondence Address:
Ajit Avasthi
Department of Psychiatry, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-5545.82534

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Psychiatry is different from all other branches of medicine as it pertains on "psyche" which is intangible, effervescent and indefinable. It is influenced by interviewer and client's communication skills, personality, socio-cultural beliefs and interpretations. The inference of "normal" and "abnormal" varies across cultures and understanding of the cultural nuances is an integral part of understanding psychopathology. Knowledge gained in one culture cannot be extrapolated completely to another culture. Indian psyche is distinct as it is has been influenced by various invaders into the country, collectivism and interdependence. Because of all these factors, presentation of mental illness is different in the Indian culture and many a times it is difficult to fit patients into the categories developed by the Western world. Similar factors also influence attitude towards treatment seeking and visit to magico-religious healers and those practicing alternative system of medicine. Moreover, the principles of Western psychotherapy cannot be applied to the Indian subjects. Compared to West, family plays a vital role in all major decision in an individual's life including his treatment and care. They bear the major burden and take up the responsibility of care of the persons with mental illness and dampen the effect of limited resources. These families cope by trusting and passing on the responsibility to almighty. Hence, there is a need for Indianization of psychiatry.



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