Monthly Archives: August 2009

Bipolar Disorder: Does It Matter What Culture You Belong To?

Bipolar and Blue: Does It Matter What Culture You Belong To?Bipolar mental illness, along with schizophrenia, affects people in different cultures all over the world. These biologically based and possibly inherited tendencies are part of the human condition, it seems. Yet there are also regions of the planet, and cultural “islands”, where the bipolar tendencies toward depression and suicide are less common, or less severe. And then there are a few areas where they are more severe. So does culture matter in the prevention and care of bipolar spectrum disorders? Three core elements create some of the major differences between cultures in ways that may matter: location –where a culture is located and the environment from which it draws sustenance and meaning; food — what foods a culture eats the most; and social structure –what kinds of relationships make up the community and how they structure the every day lives of the people of that culture. Continue reading