Huffington Post – Schizophrenia not always seen as debilitating

In the course of her most recent research project, Stanford professor Tanya Luhrmann came across a Hindu woman who claimed to hear messages from God. She told Luhrmann that she wasn’t only hearing words, but also feeling vibrations.

Had the woman been born in the West, Luhrmann said, she likely would have been diagnosed with schizophrenia. But instead, she was born in the Indian city of Chennai, where she was never questioned by her husband or father about the sounds that she alone could hear.

This difference in the perception of schizophrenia is the focus of Luhrmann’s most recent study, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry. Luhrmann analyzed how the cultural perception of the mental condition affects patient outcomes in three different communities around the world: Accra, Ghana; Chennai, India; and San Mateo, California. She studied 12 women and eight men in Accra, nine women and 11 men in Chennai, and 10 women and 10 men in San Mateo.

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