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Posted by Spratley on Thursday, October 31, 2002 at 13:44:42 :
In Reply to: thanks. nt. posted by k on Wednesday, October 30, 2002 at 22:19:21 :
Well, I did simple internet searches. I can't remember where I've heard before that Natve Americans suffer schizophrenia at statisticaly higher rates. . . it just sort of got integrated as a fact and I forgot the source (But I'm a pretty smart and scientifically responsible person so put soe weight into the idea). But on the internet (Google search, keywords Natve Anerican, Schizophrenia, incidence, ethnic group) I found some interesting things.
I found documentation that American Indians have an obscenely higher suicide rate than any other ethnic group in America --this I knew also. I also found articles claiming that American Indians get misdiagnosed with schizophrenia quite often. (Sorry no citations. . . I'm not into them. Repeat the search I did and you'll find it.)
So while I didn't find anyone saying, "Native Americans have an X% of schizophrenia per capita vs. Y% of incidence of ethnic group Z," I don't think that what I did find works against my original statment.
Psychiatry is such a normative field (in case you don't know how I'm using the term, an example --a questionnaire was given to alien abductees to see if tehy exhibited any psychological pathologies. The only scales they came had a statistically significant representation on was "fantasy proneness." But the test for fantasy proneness included questions like, "Have you ever seen unidentified bright lights in the sky?" "Have you ever found yourself floating above your bed late at night?" "Have you ever encountered extraterrestrial beings?" The test normalized alien experiences as fantasy proneness, therefore the result was invalid.). The fact that some peopel are diagnosing INdians with Schizophrenia, and tha fact that other people are saying that its not exactly schizophrenia indicates that it is not a real thing like the flu, but rather a normalized diagnosis based on certain symptoms or indicators. Consider this with the fact that I am suggesting that the locus referred to as schizophrenia can and does iclude cultural sickness --an inability to conform to a particular culture's scaffolding-- and I think a picture develops. American Indians come from a different culture. They have great difficulty assimilating into our culture. The stress form this is enough to drive them to drink and to kill themselves. Many American Indians are diagnosed with schizophrenia. Many psychiatrists challenge these diagnoses because the individual doesn't conform to their idea of what schizophrenia is. . . but admittedly schizophrenia is an ambiguous diagnosis wrapped up tightly in normative modes of science. Conclusion: schizophrenia can be seen as something aside from an organic "disease," and an ethnic group known for its struggles to adapt to a conquering culture is prone to being diagnosed with schizophrenia. Psychiatric professionals might make arguments about the poor quality of mental health care for economically disadvantaged people, or the difficulty of diagnosing schizophrenia. But in that regard I think I might have a somewhat novel idea that I wouldn;t expect them to realize.
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