The United States population continues to become more geographically, linguistically, and culturally diverse. Health care professionals, including psychiatrists, have to manage an increasing number of patients from a variety of cultural backgrounds. In addition to language barriers, cultural issues are becoming increasingly important in assessing and treating patients from different cultures including those suffering from trauma-related illnesses. With the persistence of domestic and international conflicts and terroristic incidents all over the world, posttraumatic stress disorder and trauma-related illness rates may continue to rise. Psychiatrists and mental health professionals need to be familiar with how the effects of trauma and trauma-related illness present across different cultures and how assessment and treatment will need to differ in these different populations. The American Psychiatric Association has responded to these challenges by including a section on “Cultural Formulation” in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition (DSM-5). This article focuses on examining various aspects of the presentation of trauma-related illness in different cultures with specific emphasis on culturally sensitive assessment and treatment along the lines advised in DSM-5. The article also includes guidelines for clinicians on how to incorporate culture-specific approaches and tools in their day-to-day practice to achieve optimal outcomes for patients and their families.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health