Crazy Like Us, Sharing More Than Cultural Trends

Crazy Like Us: The Globalization of the American Psyche is a book about how not only does America export modern cultural trends such as strip malls and fast food chains, but it's prevalent maladies from anxiety disorders and depression to anorexia and schizophrenia. The author Ethan Watters is an anthropologist who went to research medical trends in several countries around the world. Watters noticed the re-occurrence of anorexia in Hong Kong, schizophrenia in Zanzibar and depression in Japan. He also discusses how the treatment of these illnesses, whether experimental or otherwise, clashes with the local cultures that fall prey to these trends. Watters feels that the American medicalization of other societies threatens traditions of these cultures: "We should worry about the loss of diversity in the world's differing conceptions of treatments for mental illness in the same way we worry about the loss of biodiversity in nature."