Crazy Like Us

1964 Words Dec 20th, 2015 8 Pages
Crazy Like Us “Crazy Like Us” is a enlightening book written by San Francisco journalist, Ethan Watters, in which he contends that the exportation of typical American psychological disorders included in the DSM to other countries is an ineffective approach at attempting to aid mental health patients in those countries. Watters educates readers about the dangers of applying American mental disorders to individuals in other countries due to differences in diets, culture, and social norms. He documents a series of case studies in which victims of mental health disorders in various countries are affected by culture and societal norms. He argues that classifying a mental illness under a generic American disorder is dangerous and downright …show more content…
The variations were sometimes so pronounced he wondered if he was seeing the same disease.” (Watters, 17) One of the main indicators of Western anorexia is body distortion and extreme fear of becoming overweight, which was nonexistent in the women of Hong Kong.
The second case study consists of post-traumatic stress disorder in the victims of the 2004 tsunami in Sri Lanka. Watters recounts the story of a woman named, Debra Wentz, director of the New Jersey Association of Mental Health Agencies who was visiting Sri Lanka during the tsunami. She experienced the tragedy first-hand and became worried about the psychological implications that such a trauma plays on a person’s mental state. She vigorously worked to get American counselors to come to Sri Lanka to train local counselors on how to recognize the symptoms of PTSD and how to counsel the survivors. Her efforts, Watters states, “were clearly motivated by a set of assumptions and beliefs about the nature of psychological trauma and its appropriate treatments. Wentz assumed, as do many Western mental health specialists who focus on trauma, that the psychological reaction to horrible events is fundamentally the same around the world.” (Watters 68) Psychiatrists and

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