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Epilepsy – A Cross-Cultural Perspective

Shih Ee Goh, Beng Yeong Ng


Objective: This paper aims to highlight the impact of cross-cultural factors on the practice of psychiatry.

Methods: Using epilepsy as an example, this paper strives to emphasise the challenges that lack of understanding of cultural factors may bring about and also how they may be overcame.

Results: An examination of the names that epilepsy is known by in the different languages of the region shows the possible misconceptions associated with this disease. Currently, application of culture to psychiatric practice and training is arguably poor, often being relegated to the fringes.

Conclusion: When practicing in a region of diverse cultural backgrounds, it is of particular importance to understand cultural differences and its role in facilitating effective diagnosis and management. Through this paper, it is hoped that there will be greater awareness of the need for cultural competence, especially in the training of a new generation of doctors.

Download ASEAN Journal of Psychiatry, Vol. 14 (2): July - December 2013 here.


Culture; Epilepsy; Stigmatisation