Human life depends on many factors and culture plays an essential role. Speaking about culture, people usually think about the way of conduct, national peculiarities and other aspects which characterize one particular country. However, there are many aspects which characterize human culture. Considering culture as a factor which influences people and their decisions, health instances are to be discussed when cultural preferences lead to cases of disease. Cultural issues are closely interconnected with religion in some countries and with social opinion in other countries. However, in each case health care may be restricted depending on cultural directions. Speaking about anorexia and idiopathic seizures connected to culture, it is possible to notice dependence between the mentioned issues. Those who have faced these diseases in various cultures may notice the peculiarities. The main idea of this research is to present two specific cases concerning the cultural expression in these two diseases.
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Anorexia is a nervous problem which results in abnormal and unregulated loss of weight which finishes with organism exhaustion. Looking at this problem from the cultural point of view, it is possible to state that Western countries have the highest rate of this mental disorder. Anorexia is not a nutrition problem, poverty and hunger because of it do not lead to anorexia. Being purely a mental disease, Western culture promotes it from day to day. What does the problem come from? Watching TV, searching for the information online and considering other mass media information, Western people come across the message given to the modern society. An ideal woman is a thin woman without extra weight. Watching fashion shows and similar arrangements, people (especially women) want to look like those at the stage. Different magazines are full of ideal women and the Internet presents hundred of diets and other ways to lose weight. Living under such cultural pressure, women appear in dependence from this opinion. Arnold (2012) states in his research that “viewership of such images is associated with low self-esteem and body dissatisfaction in young girls and women, placing them at risk for development of body image disturbances and eating disorders. These conditions can have devastating psychological as well as medical consequences”. However, there are a lot of women with low self-esteem in other countries, but the level of people who suffer from anorexia is still the highest in the Western countries. Isn’t it a reason to consider cultural aspects of the problem while battling the disease?
Many psychologists assure that self-esteem plays a central role in anorexia. It is impossible to disagree with the issue, but why do people have low self-esteem? The image of an ideal person created in the society makes people have a desire to correspond to that idol. Some people do not pay attention to their failure to be ideal, but others are ready for everything to meet the standard. It is society that imposes standards, therefore, the affect of culture is inevitable. Engel, Reiss, and Dombeck (2007) point to the fact that before mass media spread “plump, round, and soft” body was considered as an ideal one. So, this is one more fact that proves cultural influence on human consideration of ideal body and on anorexia as a result. The main problem of the modern cultural affect is the presentation of men and women on TV and in magazines as of their natural ideal weight. Much is said about Photoshop and constant restrictions in weight and style of life. However, many people are sure that ideal women and men on TV are born with such weight and they have to do nothing to support their shape. As a result, people are affected. Society and culture of the West supports such opinion and all people cannot ignore this point of view. Anorexia is purely cultural problem and the reconsideration of the social vision of ideal body may help solve this problem.
Speaking about idiopathic epilepsies Banerjee, Filippi, and Hauser (2009) refer it to the problem which has a genetic basis. This disease commonly begins in childhood. Considering the relation between this disease and cultural issues, it is possible to refer to life of people in society. Modern cultural considerations of people are rather contestable. Following the rule of human equality, there is still prejudice in relation to epileptic people. People with such diagnosis may have problems at school, at work, and in other places of social interaction. It does not mean that people with idiopathic epilepsy are restricted culturally, however, specific tension is felt. Considering cultural affect on the problem, it should be stated that Western philosophy mostly tends to physically and mentally healthy members of society. In theory, social opinion does not press those who have some problems or differ from others. However, a person with idiopathic epilepsy feels uncomfortable in modern society. As a result, the disease is developed due to constant tension and other similar factors.
People refuse from treatment being sure that if no one knows about their problem they would feel better. Still, idiopathic epilepsy is not a problem which may be easily solved. The same idea is confirmed by Jakovljević and Žarko (2006) who assure that additionally “to the ‘normal’ influences of demographics, cultural, cognitive and behavioral factors in their development, children and adolescent with epilepsy can experience social incompetence at school, with their peers and in other relationships, in sport and in obtaining part time jobs” (p. 530). Even though cultural aspects concerning this issue are not that common as the problems connected to anorexia, negative health outcomes because of cultural instability and absence of social support is great. People are unable to live in isolation. But modern society in most cases is based on the principle of survival, where the strongest people are able to live happy. Health problems people face have cultural imprint.
In conclusion, culture plays a very important role in all aspects of human life. Speaking about health care, it should be stated that some cultural visions and prejudice may cause many health problems which may lead to deaths. Anorexia and idiopathic epilepsy are such cases. Culture is not just religion and traditional considerations of a particular country. Culture is the way how people live and how they treat various issues. Mass media may be considered as the creator of human opinion. It is essential to consider anorexia and idiopathic epilepsy from the point of view of cultural approach as a closer discussion of this problem shows the affect culture has on people. Disease development is promoted by cultural considerations and only ruining cultural perspectives may improve the situation concerning anorexia and idiopathic epilepsy in Western society.
Arnold, C. (2012). Is Anorexia a Cultural Disease? Slate. Web.
Banerjee, P., N., Filippi, D., & Hauser, W. (2009). The descriptive epidemiology of epilepsy- A review. Epilepsy Research, 85, 31 – 45.
Engel,B., Reiss, N. S., & Dombeck, M. (2007, February 2). Causes of Eating Disorders – Cultural Influences. MentalHelp. Web.
Jakovljević, V. and M. Žarko (2006). Social competence of children and adolescents with epilepsy. Seizure, 15, 528 – 532.