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  Mens Sana Monographs
A Monograph Series Devoted To The Understanding Of Medicine, Mental Health, Man, Mind, Music And Their Matrix
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   2009| January-December  | Volume 7 | Issue 1  
    Online since July 9, 2009

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Notes on a Few Issues in the Philosophy of Psychiatry
Ajai R Singh, Shakuntala A Singh
January-December 2009, 7(1):128-183
DOI:10.4103/0973-1229.40731  PMID:21836785
The first part called the Preamble tackles: (a) the issues of silence and speech, and life and disease; (b) whether we need to know some or all of the truth, and how are exact science and philosophical reason related; (c) the phenomenon of Why, How, and What; (d) how are mind and brain related; (e) what is robust eclecticism, empirical/scientific enquiry, replicability/refutability, and the role of diagnosis and medical model in psychiatry; (f) bioethics and the four principles of beneficence, non-malfeasance, autonomy, and justice; (g) the four concepts of disease, illness, sickness, and disorder; how confusion is confounded by these concepts but clarity is imperative if we want to make sense out of them; and how psychiatry is an interim medical discipline. The second part called The Issues deals with: (a) the concepts of nature and nurture; the biological and the psychosocial; and psychiatric disease and brain pathophysiology; (b) biology, Freud and the reinvention of psychiatry; (c) critics of psychiatry, mind-body problem and paradigm shifts in psychiatry; (d) the biological, the psychoanalytic, the psychosocial and the cognitive; (e) the issues of clarity, reductionism, and integration; (f) what are the fool-proof criteria, which are false leads, and what is the need for questioning assumptions in psychiatry. The third part is called Psychiatric Disorder, Psychiatric Ethics, and Psychiatry Connected Disciplines. It includes topics like (a) psychiatric disorder, mental health, and mental phenomena; (b) issues in psychiatric ethics; (c) social psychiatry, liaison psychiatry, psychosomatic medicine, forensic psychiatry, and neuropsychiatry. The fourth part is called Antipsychiatry, Blunting Creativity, etc. It includes topics like (a) antipsychiatry revisited; (b) basic arguments of antipsychiatry, Szasz, etc.; (c) psychiatric classification and value judgment; (d) conformity, labeling, and blunting creativity. The fifth part is called The Role of Philosophy, Religion, and Spirituality in Psychiatry. It includes topics like (a) relevance of philosophy to psychiatry; (b) psychiatry, religion, spirituality, and culture; (c) ancient Indian concepts and contemporary psychiatry; (d) Indian holism and Western reductionism; (e) science, humanism, and the nomothetic-idiographic orientation. The last part, called Final Goal, talks of the need for a grand unified theory. The whole discussion is put in the form of refutable points.
  27,923 347 7
Psychological Aspects of Widowhood and Divorce
JK Trivedi, Himanshu Sareen, Mohan Dhyani
January-December 2009, 7(1):37-49
DOI:10.4103/0973-1229.40648  PMID:21836778
Despite advances in standard of living of the population, the condition of widows and divorced women remains deplorable in society. The situation is worse in developing nations with their unique social, cultural and economic milieu, which at times ignores the basic human rights of this vulnerable section of society. A gap exists in life expectancies of men and women in both developing and developed nations. This, coupled with greater remarriage rates in men, ensures that the number of widows continues to exceed that of widowers. Moreover, with women becoming more educated, economically independent and aware of their rights, divorce rates are increasing along with associated psychological ramifications. The fact that widowed/divorced women suffer from varying psychological stressors is often ignored. It has been concluded in various studies that such stressors could be harbingers of psychiatric illnesses (e.g., depression, anxiety, substance dependence), and hence should be taken into account by treating physicians, social workers and others who come to the aid of such women. A change in mindset of the society is required before these women get their rightful place, for which a strong will is needed in the minds of the people, and in law-governing bodies.
  21,888 456 3
Humanity at the Crossroads: Does Sri Aurobindo offer an alternative?
Shakuntala A Singh, Ajai R Singh
January-December 2009, 7(1):110-127
DOI:10.4103/0973-1229.38517  PMID:21836784
In the light of Sri Aurobindo's philosophy, this paper looks into some of the problems of contemporary man as an individual, a member of society, a citizen of his country, a component of this world, and of nature itself. Concepts like Science; Nature,;Matter; Mental Being; Mana-purusa; Prana-purusa; Citta-purusa; Nation-ego and Nation-soul; True and False Subjectivism; World-state and World-union; Religion of Humanism are the focus of this paper. Nature: Beneath the diversity and uniqueness of the different elements in Nature there is an essential unity that not only allows for this diversity but even supports it. Nature is both a benefactor and a force: a benefactor, because it acts to carry out the evolution of mankind; a force, because it also supplies the necessary energy and momentum to achieve it. Natural calamities: If mankind can quieten the tsunamis and cyclones and droughts and earthquakes that rage within, and behave with care and compassion towards Nature, not exploiting, denuding, or denigrating it, there is a strong possibility that Nature too will behave with equal care and compassion towards man and spare him the natural calamities than rend him asunder. Science: The limitation of science become obvious, according to Sri Aurobindo, when we realize that it has mastered knowledge of processes and helped in the creation of machinery but is ignorant of the foundations of being and, therefore, cannot perfect our nature or our life. Science and philosophy: The insights of philosophy could become heuristic and algorithmic models for scientific experimentation. Matter: An interesting aspect of Sri Aurobindo's philosophy is his acceptance of the reality of matter even while highlighting its inadequacies; the ultimate goal, according to him, is the divination of matter itself. Purusa: If the mana-purusa (mental being) were to log on to the genuine citta-purusa (psychic formation), without necessarily logging off from the prana-purusa (frontal formation), it may help quieten the turbulences within, which may be a prelude to the quietening of the disturbances without, whether it be physical maladies, cravings (for food, fame, fortune, etc.), destructive competitiveness; or wars, terrorism, ethnic conflicts, communal riots, and the other such social maladies that afflict mankind today. Nation-ego (false subjectivism) and Nation-soul (true subjectivism): Sri Aurobindo considers Nation-ego an example of false subjectivism, in which national identity and pride are stressed to prove one's superiority and suppress or exploit the rest. The Nation-soul, as an example of true subjectivism, attempts to capture one's traditional heritage and values in its pristine form, not as a reaction to hurts and angers or as compensation for real or imagined injuries or indignities of the past. World-state (false subjectivism) and World-union (true subjectivism): Similarly, a World-state founded upon the principle of centralization and uniformity, a mechanical and formal unity, is an example of false subjectivism, while a World-union founded upon the principle of liberty and variation in a free and intelligent unity is an example of true subjectivism Human actualization: Even if two human beings are similar, in so far as they are human beings, there is so much diversity between them. Part of the movement towards human self-actualization lies in the fact that this diversity should not be forcibly curbed, as also the realization that beneath all that appears disparate there is an essential unity. Also, man is not the end product of evolution but an intermediate stage between the animal and the divine. Moreover, he is endowed with consciousness that enables him to cooperate with the forces of evolution and speed up and telescope the next stage of evolution.
  20,060 214 1
Working Mothers: How Much Working, How Much Mothers, And Where Is The Womanhood?
Jayita Poduval, Murali Poduval
January-December 2009, 7(1):63-79
DOI:10.4103/0973-1229.41799  PMID:21836780
Motherhood confers upon a woman the responsibility of raising a child. This process also changes the way in which she is perceived in society and at her workplace. It can necessitate her to take more than available leave options, and job security can be at risk. Significant social and personal adjustments are necessary to cope with such a situation. A working mother, especially one who has the good fortune to be able to balance her home and work, enjoys the stimulation that a job or career provides. She develops the ability of raising a useful member of society and at the same time gains financial independence. Along with motherhood, work adds to the completeness of being a woman.
  19,802 369 1
Women and substance use disorders
Dorte Hecksher, Morten Hesse
January-December 2009, 7(1):50-62
DOI:10.4103/0973-1229.42585  PMID:21836779
Substance use disorders belong to the class of externalizing behaviours that are generally more common among men than women. Those women who do have substance disorders therefore deviate more from the norms of society compared with men, tend to live in an environment characterized by high risk of violence and other forms of abuse, and tend to be survivors of childhood trauma. In terms of seeking treatment, women often have difficulty acknowledging their problems with substance use disorders, and professionals are reluctant to ask women about drug or alcohol use. Even when they do seek treatment, women in many countries face practical and financial barriers to access treatment. For women who do enter treatment, outcomes are generally comparable to outcomes for men, suggesting that facilitating entry into treatment can yield substantial benefits for women with addictions.
  10,381 297 1
Health Psychology: Where Are We And Where Do We Go From Here?
Robert M Kaplan
January-December 2009, 7(1):3-9
DOI:10.4103/0973-1229.43584  PMID:21836775
Human behaviour plays a significant role in most of the leading causes of death. Psychological science has the potential to enhance health outcomes through a better understanding of health promoting and health damaging behaviours. Health psychology and the related field of behavioural medicine focus on the interplay among biological dispositions, behaviour, and social context. The field might advance by building better collaboration with other fields of medicine, sharing expertise on technical aspects of psychometric outcomes assessment, identifying behavioural interventions to reduce health disparities, and creating an infrastructure that fosters multidisciplinary research.
  10,109 384 2
Theory of feminism and tribal women: An empirical study of Koraput
Anil Kumar Mohapatra
January-December 2009, 7(1):80-92
DOI:10.4103/0973-1229.45314  PMID:21836781
In the mainstream culture to identify oneself as a "feminist" has been a fashion. Feminism covers all issues degrading and depriving women of their due in society vis--vis male members and it has started a crusade against atrocities on women across the globe. It is therefore regarded as synonymous with a movement and revolution to defend and promote issues involving women. However, the concerns that feminism raises do seem alien to tribal inhabitants in the Koraput district of Orissa, because, unknowingly, they are its champions. Its principles are ingrained in their very culture. They practice and follow feminism as a matter of habit that has come to them down the ages. They do not follow it out of fear, compassion, enlightenment, education or compulsion; it is a necessity that comes quite naturally to them. It has been spontaneous and indigenous.
  9,358 285 2
The Feminist Perspective: Searching the Cosmos for a Valid Voice
Roy Sugarman
January-December 2009, 7(1):97-109
DOI:10.4103/0973-1229.41798  PMID:21836783
The author explores the nature of what is valid in life and what is not. This is done with particular reference to the contention that most men suffer from the conflicts that the modern world throws their way, and that their psychological nature suffers from paradoxical inputs across the lifespan. Baby boomers in particular have learned of their father's heroism, but faced their mother's wrath as the latter half of the 20 th century unwound and they found no refuge for failed heroism, but rather invalid fantasy in their choices as husbands and fathers. The author concludes with the realization that heroism demands that the starting point is a void, where all struggle is valid, and heroic, with no benchmarks.
  8,648 193 -
Democracy and Women's Health
Jalil Safaei
January-December 2009, 7(1):20-36
DOI:10.4103/0973-1229.42101  PMID:21836777
New research on broader determinants of health has culminated into the new paradigm of social determinants of health. The fundamental view that underlies this new paradigm is that socioeconomic and political contexts in which people live have significant bearing upon their health and well-being. Unlike a wealth of research on socioeconomic determinants, few studies have focused on the role of political factors. Some of these studies examine the role of political determinants on health through their mediation with the labour environments and systems of welfare state. A few others study the relationship between polity regimes and population health more directly. However, none of them has a focus on women's health. This study explores the interactions, both direct and indirect, between democracy and women's health. In doing so, it identifies some of the main health vulnerabilities for women and explains, through a conceptual model, how democracy and respect for human rights interacts with women's health.
  7,661 238 3
The Oxford Encyclopedia Of Women In World History - Editor-in-Chief Bonnie G. Smith
Ajai R Singh
January-December 2009, 7(1):199-208
  6,556 209 -
Gender And The Human Genome
Ruth Chadwick
January-December 2009, 7(1):10-19
DOI:10.4103/0973-1229.44075  PMID:21836776
Gender issues arise in relation to the human genome across a number of dimensions: the level of attention given to the nuclear genome as opposed to the mitochondrial; the level of basic scientific research; decision-making in the clinic related to both reproductive decision-making on the one hand, and diagnostic and predictive testing on the other; and wider societal implications. Feminist bioethics offers a useful perspective for addressing these issues.
  6,103 345 3
The Making of a Physician
V Balakrishnan
January-December 2009, 7(1):184-188
Medicine is a science, and healing, an art. The right mix of a scientist and an artist is essential in a good physician. Clinical detachment is the balance between the scientist and the human. Good physicians are born; however, it is possible to cultivate the qualities. Gaining the patient's confidence is an art; a sense of humor can greatly help. Give a child respect and he becomes your friend. Death is inevitable, but a physician can help make it less agonizing. A good physician is a philosopher, aware of the beauty of life, of his limitations and conscious of the power that controls us.
  5,253 247 1
Straight Talk: The Challenge Before Modern Day Hinduism
Ajai R Singh
January-December 2009, 7(1):189-196
DOI:10.4103/0973-1229.53319  PMID:21836787
Hinduism, as an institution, offers very little to the poor and underprivileged within its fold. This is one of the prime reasons for voluntary conversion of Hindus from among its members. B.R. Ambedkar and A.R. Rahman provide poignant examples of how lack of education and health facilities for the underprivileged within its fold, respectively, led to their conversion. This can be countered by a movement to provide large-scale quality health [hospitals/PHCs] and educational [schools/colleges] facilities run by Hindu mission organisations spread over the cities and districts of India. A four point-four phase programmme is presented here to outline how this can be achieved. Those who have the genuine interests of Hinduism at heart will have to set such an agenda before them rather than strident and violent affirmations of its glories. One can understand the reasons for such stridency, but it is time it got converted into constructive affirmative action to keep the flock.
  5,097 189 1
Life on the British Ward
Sreedhar Krishna
January-December 2009, 7(1):197-198
  3,869 154 -
My Close Friends Lurk All Around The House, And He Knows Not!
Shakuntala A Singh
January-December 2009, 7(1):93-96
DOI:10.4103/0973-1229.48837  PMID:21836782
Technology is a woman's best friend. Gadgets, appliances and contraception make life easy for the present day working woman. Men barely realize the importance of these even if they appear to agree to their use.
  3,129 168 -
Ajai R Singh
January-December 2009, 7(1):2-2
DOI:10.4103/0973-1229.53331  PMID:21836773
  2,723 161 -
Preface - MSM 2009 Theme Monograph
Ajai R Singh, Shakuntala A Singh
January-December 2009, 7(1):1-1
  2,604 216 -
Welcome to the Board, Prof James R. Flynn
Ajai R Singh
January-December 2009, 7(1):210-210
  2,591 171 -
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