In Indian society and culture, the
chances of purely psychological/behavioural symptoms being dismissed as inconsequential
and not a part of medical illness is rather high. If a person complains of too many
thoughts, confusion and indecisiveness about a few things the reaction from the
family members is usually "forget the thoughts and you will be alright".
Moreover, his chances of being taken to a doctor and getting treated are also low.
Sometime he is looked down upon as a weak-minded person.
However, if the person reports
that he has bodily symptoms such as headache or pain, he is sympathetically advised by the
family members to consult a doctor. Thus in Indian society, the psychological symptoms and
associated disease, are not given the status of medical disease. Hence, Indian patients
are more likely to use the medium of body (physical complaints) for expressing emotional
and inner tension. The production of these symptoms is not
intentional i.e. the person has no voluntary control over these symptoms. In the study
conducted by the authors on 100 Depressive Disease cases, 66% presented to the doctors
with only physical complaints.
The complaints may pertain to any part of
the body, but the commonly reported physical symptoms are:
- Pain headache, bodyache, chest pain, backache, pain in abdomen.
- Gases in the stomach or gaseous distension, indigestion.
- Burning sensation in the body.
- Increased sweating.