oa Central African Journal of Medicine - Psychological disorders in Africa II: Clinical Issues

Volume 33, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0008-9176



A previous article has examined the data relating to the prevalence of psychological disorders in Africa. It was shown that psychological disorder is common in Africa, and is distributed with the same frequency both 'within' and 'between' cultures. It was further shown that, despite high rates of attendance at general medical settings, there was an inversely low rate of detection by medical personnel. It was not clear whether this low rate of detection was due to the low awareness of health-care personnel or to the manner in which psychological disorder presents. Furthermore, it was concluded that rates of disorder are independent of cultural factors, at least insofar as culture (or acculturation) would seem to contribute little to the genesis of psychological disorder. The current article examines the issues surrounding the problem of the low rate of detection of psychological disorder. It examines firstly the data relating to the presentation of disorder, noting the predominance of somatic symptoms in the clinical presentation of disorders. Next, the implications for these findings are discussed, and the contribution of cultural factors is examined.

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