Dr. David B. Adams – Psychological Blog

Psychology of Illness, Pain, Anxiety and Depression

Cultural Differences

With America as a cultural melting pot, we have to be prepared for differences in the ways cultures handle psychological and physical problems. And we must respect that.

However, we are also governed by our standards of health care and our standards of the value of human life. If, for example, there is a culture that treasures death as a _reward_ and views suicide as a favorable decision that does not mean that we should legalize suicide. Also, if a culture uses opium in religious ceremonies that does not indicate that we should freely distribute opiates.

Being a patient in American health care not only has rewards but it has requirements.

Whoever is seeing your patient(s) should have limits and boundaries. There should be a clear and firm clinical decision based upon objective evidence. We cannot allow a spouse to practice medicine.

However, what is often not known is that these can be non-cultural issues. They are psychological issues between husband and wife and disguised as cultural issues. The husband may be a dictatorial, autocratic, suspicious and demanding individual who dominates his wife through intimidation.

It is important to know whether the issue is cultural or psychological, but it is also important to set real, objective boundaries based upon American standards of health care.

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