Mohave Ethnopsychiatry and Suicide: The Psychiatric Knowledge and the Psychic Disturbances of An Indian Tribe

By George Devereux | Go to book overview
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PART 5. OCCIDENTAL DISEASE CATEGORIES NEUROSES, PSYCHOSES, AND NEUROLOGICAL DEFECTS

The present chapter contains the psychiatric information which was obtained in response to questions regarding the occurrence of classical psychiatric syndromes among the Mohave. The form of the questions explains why, in answering them, the Mohave simply provided descriptions or explanations, but used no Mohave diagnostic labels.

Although it would have been easy, in some instances, to correlate these data with Mohave clinical entities, it was felt that such a procedure would inextricably mix what the Mohave themselves specifically said about certain Mohave disease entities and what, for the best of reasons perhaps, I decided to correlate with those entities. Hence the two sets of data were kept apart. Nothing is lost thereby, since the reader himself will readily correlate psychopathy with disorders of the instinct of aggression, manic depressive psychosis either with disturbances of the mood or else with nyevedhi: taha:na, etc.


ANXIETY AND ANXIETY STATES

Anxiety is one of the key concepts of psychiatry. It is either consciously present in neuroses and psychoses, or else it is effectively barred from the field of consciousness by such defense mechanisms as isolation, albeit at great cost in terms of incapacitating symptoms and disorders. In some instances anxiety is detached from its original cause or source and is attached to some less anxiety-arousing item, by means of the defense mechanism of displacement. When the subjective awareness of anxiety is suppressed, e.g., by means of isolation, it can usually be elicited by means of deep psychotherapy. In such instances the patient must be brought to experience anxiety subjectively, before the anxiety itself can be dealt with therapeutically. The chief objective of many symptoms is the reduction of anxiety.

In addition to anxiety as a symptom of various neuroses and psychoses, there are also two neuroses, called "anxiety state" and "anxiety hysteria," in which the subjective experience and symptom of anxiety plays a dominant role. In other instances anxiety is elicited by situations of stress or else by definite "phobic situations, or objects." In still other instances anxiety attacks occur in a seemingly random man

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