Classification and concepts of causation of mental illness in a rural Malay community

Chen, Paul C.Y. (1970) Classification and concepts of causation of mental illness in a rural Malay community. International Journal of Social Psychiatry, 16 (3). pp. 205-215. ISSN 0020-7640, DOI

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Three broad categories of mental illness are described: gila—states perceived to be a serious threat and requiring vigorous attention; chronic states perceived to be non-threatening and hence tolerable and requiring no treatment; and acute states perceived to be non-threatening but requiring attention from the bomoh (indigenous Malay medicine-man). Mental illness is thought to be the result of certain physical causes, namely, brain impairment, wind and certain blood conditions, and supernatural causes, namely, God, spirits and witchcraft. Certain conditions are thought to predispose to mental illness, namely, the loss of semangat (vital force), mental stress and incorrect behavior. Indigenous Malay psychotherapy is a logical consequence of the above concepts about causation. Exorcism, carried out in illnesses perceived to be due to spirit possession and witchcraft, is an elaborate ritual during which the bomoh mobilizes the elements of shared traditions and incorporates such elements as group participation and support of the emotionally disturbed individual. © 1970, Sage Publications. All rights reserved.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Brain Diseases; Complementary Therapies; Female; Human; Malaysia; Male; Mental Disorders; Rural Health; Spiritualism; Superstitions
Subjects: R Medicine
Divisions: Faculty of Medicine
Depositing User: Mr Jasny Razali
Date Deposited: 12 Mar 2021 03:27
Last Modified: 12 Mar 2021 03:27

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