Crazy Like Us Chapter Summary

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Crazy Like Us: The Globalization of the American Psyche begins by discussing the westernization of illness in other countries. The book, which was written by Ethan Watters, gives four examples of the Americanization of illness, discussing anorexia in Hong Kong, PTSD in Sri Lanka, schizophrenia in Zanzibar, and depression in Japan. The first chapter, “The Rise of Anorexia in Hong Kong”, begins with Dr. Lee. Dr. Lee has spent years studying anorexia, and has found the course of the disease has changed throughout history, especially after the introduction of the DSM. In early research, Dr. Lee found that many clients who reported an anorexia- type disease showed physical symptoms, such as stomachaches and feelings of a blocked esophagus. As…show more content…
The Japanese had a very stigmatized view on depression, and people would usually only get help if their case was severe. This shifted after countries began selling anti-depressants in Japan, however. In the United States, many people are dealing with depression, and many seek treatment for the disorder, regardless of the severity. When the U.S. ran advertisements to destigmatize the illness in Japan, they fractured the cultural beliefs that Japan previously held.
Another important theme shown throughout Crazy Like Us is the effect of family on mental illness. As a general trend throughout the book, the more supportive the client’s family was, the less negative emotions the client felt toward their own condition. In some cases, there is also evidence to suggest that family dysfunction can be a trigger for symptoms.
In “The Rise of Anorexia in Hong Kong”, Dr. Lee found that many of his original patients, who exhibited physical symptoms, began experiencing the condition after an extreme event within the family. One patient, for example, began feeling ill after her partner had left her to emigrate to England.
After the tsunami in Sri Lanka, many survivors reached to their family for support, and many preferred to be with their families in their destroyed neighborhoods than to be in refugee camps. For the Sri Lankans, family support was a vital part in the healing
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