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The Americanization of Mental Illness
New York Times ^ | January 11, 2010 | Ethan Watters

Posted on 01/11/2010 4:49:17 PM PST by lbryce

AMERICANS, particularly if they are of a certain leftward-leaning, college-educated type, worry about our country’s blunders into other cultures. In some circles, it is easy to make friends with a rousing rant about the McDonald’s near Tiananmen Square, the Nike factory in Malaysia or the latest blowback from our political or military interventions abroad. For all our self-recrimination, however, we may have yet to face one of the most remarkable effects of American-led globalization. We have for many years been busily engaged in a grand project of Americanizing the world’s understanding of mental health and illness. We may indeed be far along in homogenizing the way the world goes mad.

This unnerving possibility springs from recent research by a loose group of anthropologists and cross-cultural psychiatrists. Swimming against the biomedical currents of the time, they have argued that mental illnesses are not discrete entities like the polio virus with their own natural histories. These researchers have amassed an impressive body of evidence suggesting that mental illnesses have never been the same the world over (either in prevalence or in form) but are inevitably sparked and shaped by the ethos of particular times and places. In some Southeast Asian cultures, men have been known to experience what is called amok, an episode of murderous rage followed by amnesia; men in the region also suffer from koro, which is characterized by the debilitating certainty that their genitals are retracting into their bodies. Across the fertile crescent of the Middle East there is zar, a condition related to spirit-possession beliefs that brings forth dissociative episodes of laughing, shouting and singing.

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Front Page News
KEYWORDS: americahatred; antiamericanism; disorders; mentalillness; psychiatry; psychology
Welcome to the realm of America-Haters, where no hypothesis is too convoluted, too absurd to propose when it comes to the world's favorite political sport of America Hating. All you need to participate, enter the fray is a panel of quacks legitimized by the string of acronyms at the end of their names, connect a few dubious dots and voila, you've got all you need to facilitate a new paradigm shift in the annals of America Haters.

Don't think so? Have you ever heard of global warming??

You'd think you've seen the last of the scum-sucking bottom dwellers in their philosophical death-throes having run dry on novel ways to demonize the greatest country ever in the history of the world. Well, we only saved the world from tyranny, oppression, oh, I forget.

We've all just managed to survive the worst America Haters' harangue against capitalism, free enterprise, in memory, when lo and behold, I get a glimpse of what is mind-numbing in its theme. of course, where else? the New York Times, now claiming it's not just our very souls, bodies, economic future that America has debased, laid waste to, now it's the global state of mental health, stability the USA has also managed to wreak havoc with get the blame for with such all encompassing single-minded nihilistic culpability.

I say, wouldn't that make perfect sense? Wouldn't that be the next logical step in capitalism's evil march around the globe to first conquer their souls through its malevolent culture, then its bodies poisoning them with Fast food, processed, sugary, high fructose corn syrup contamination, then in step 3 to take over the world, subjugate the helpless, by destabilizing their very minds, The drug conglomeration/cartel that reap 10,000% profit off the backs of those whose prescriptions are their very lifeblood, creating infinite new disorders conjured up as fast as the acronyms can be stringed together and then the medication that keeps them enslaved throughout a lifetime, even more horrific, sinister than what Pravda could ever conceive of?

In some Southeast Asian cultures, men have been known to experience what is called amok, an episode of murderous rage followed by amnesia.

Hmm. Interesting. I thought it was exclusive to the Islamic countries.

1 posted on 01/11/2010 4:49:19 PM PST by lbryce
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To: lbryce

” We may indeed be far along in homogenizing the way the world goes mad.”

This is just nuts!


2 posted on 01/11/2010 4:53:01 PM PST by USFRIENDINVICTORIA
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To: lbryce
Hmm. Interesting. I thought it was exclusive to the Islamic countries.

The Moslem version is accompanied, not followed, by death and is planned carefully.

3 posted on 01/11/2010 4:56:18 PM PST by arthurus ("If you don't believe in shooting abortionists, don't shoot an abortionist." -Ann C.)
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To: lbryce

Do they ever. The disease of the week is getting more like the disease of the day and the prognosis changes daily. One day you can be cured; the next day you can’t.

And one day coffee is great; the next day you will die if you have one more cup.


4 posted on 01/11/2010 5:00:20 PM PST by freekitty (Give me back my conservative vote; then find me a real conservative to vote for)
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To: lbryce
You know that little spot on the scalp where all your hair swirls around from?

I have a debilitating phobia that a fly is trying to land on that little spot on my scalp at all times.

I've been considering converting to Judaism just so I can wear a yarmulke.

Makes me wonder if the nation of Israel suffers from my condition.

5 posted on 01/11/2010 5:03:30 PM PST by Manic_Episode (Some mornings, it's just not worth chewing through the leather straps...)
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To: lbryce
men in the region also suffer from koro, which is characterized by the debilitating certainty that their genitals are retracting into their bodies.

In the U.S., this goes by the acronym RINO

6 posted on 01/11/2010 5:06:42 PM PST by SirJohnBarleycorn
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To: lbryce
I admit I haven't read this whole thing. In fact I only read the first page and then skimmed pages 2 and 3.

But the author’s screwy premise is probably due to his confusion over oddball behavior versus neuroses versus, actual madness.

7 posted on 01/11/2010 5:13:09 PM PST by BenLurkin
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To: lbryce

The writer dwells so much on anorexia nervosa he probably believes it to be little more than a psycho-somatic expression of existential angst and not at all symptomatic of real disease. Alas it’s all too frequently just another permutation of something not at all psycho-somatic, but for many years considered just as mysterious ~ CELIAC DISEASE. The following URL takes you to a history of the problem and the tortured path of developing a diagnosis for it: http://www.celiacdisease.net/assets/pdf/SU07CeliacCtr.News.pdf


8 posted on 01/11/2010 5:13:50 PM PST by muawiyah ("Git Out The Way")
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To: Manic_Episode

I’ve often noticed on the occasion when a Yarmulkah would move off center, require readjustment, how many of the wearers were going bald underneath,their bald spot rather considerable in size, the Yarmulkah had perfectly concealed underneath. So not only those manifesting any sort of fly-insect sucking their brain-out phobia you have so publicly fessed up to, it can be be used as cheap way for you to use as a kosher toupee. Muslim men wear head-covering as well so if you are a member of the Muslim society no need to bear the stigma of referring to your head gear as a Yamulkah.

Mah’Ah’Salamma Allah Kabaaam Allah Kah’Boom


9 posted on 01/11/2010 5:18:06 PM PST by lbryce (Obama Notwithstanding, America's Best Days Are Yet To Be .)
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To: lbryce

***In some Southeast Asian cultures, men have been known to experience what is called amok, an episode of murderous rage followed by amnesia.

Hmm. Interesting. I thought it was exclusive to the Islamic countries. ***

Google “Juramentados”.

That is why the .45 acp was invented.


10 posted on 01/11/2010 5:25:51 PM PST by Ruy Dias de Bivar (Are my guns loaded? Break in and find out.)
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To: lbryce

So these psychological and anthropological geniuses never wondered if the human condition is displayed differently in different environments? They would quickly agree that we have different languages, different social customs etc. but it never occurred to them that a person with a phobia in one country may not be permitted certain expression of that phobia and may internalize it until the mind finds a creative but unrelated expression (e.g. paralysis)of terror and yet...in another culture where direct expression of phobia is more acceptable there are different signs of this phobia both direct and indirect(’generalized anxiety diagnosis)? That the way our culture rears it’s young today (parked in front of the TV) might result in a set of emotional challenges the child must face later in life compared with the way another culture raises it’s children (arduous labor and neglect from early on)? That environmental hazards (i.e. the practice of burning campfires in unventilated cement shacks and exposure of children to lead in a poverty stricken area of Nepal) might bring about changes in child development that differ from those in our country (the presence of first world pesticides and excessive hormones in drinking water and food)?


11 posted on 01/11/2010 5:27:25 PM PST by ransomnote
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To: Ruy Dias de Bivar
I assumed there might be a term, noun for those who were committed to the death in the midst of Jihad, The fact that one of the words were so seemingly Spanish in etymology was a surprise.

Your second point about that it precipitated the invention of the .45 acp is even more intriguing in that it implies the determination, sheer will of these zealots was powerful enough to overcome what might have been deadly to to others less driven to kill the infidel.

12 posted on 01/11/2010 5:39:11 PM PST by lbryce (Obama Notwithstanding, America's Best Days Are Yet To Be .)
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To: Ruy Dias de Bivar

> Google “Juramentados”.
>
> That is why the .45 acp was invented.

(BIG GRIN!) Once again! I have learned something new today, thanks to the FRee Republic!!

There was a great (short) description of the Moro Uprising in Anton Myrer’s “Once an Eagle” — great book.


13 posted on 01/11/2010 6:03:00 PM PST by DieHard the Hunter (Is mise an ceann-cinnidh. Cha ghéill mi do dhuine. Fàg am bealach.)
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To: DieHard the Hunter
What goes around comes around usually conveys a sense of divine justice, comeuppance as punishment but fortunately not in this case.

Anytime I've precipitated a BIG GRIN in others has me breaking out in a
BIG GRIN of my own.

Thank you for making my day! :-)

14 posted on 01/11/2010 6:12:10 PM PST by lbryce (Obama Notwithstanding, America's Best Days Are Yet To Be .)
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To: lbryce

“Sometimes you feel like a nut and sometimes you don’t.”


15 posted on 01/11/2010 6:32:18 PM PST by I Hate Obama ("Sorry I had a fight in the middle of your Black Panther Party." -Forest Gump)
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To: Ruy Dias de Bivar
I am wondering if part of mental illness might be cultural. Among the Norse, certain warriors went into battle wearing animal skins, howling and biting their shields. These were the Berserkers. Their behavior served a purpose then, but is not so useful today. http://www.vikinganswerlady.com/berserke.shtml
16 posted on 01/11/2010 6:43:43 PM PST by jmcenanly
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To: I Hate Obama

Whereas you may not have any variation in your perception of reality.


17 posted on 01/11/2010 6:47:38 PM PST by lbryce (Obama Notwithstanding, America's Best Days Are Yet To Be .)
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To: I Hate Obama

Oh,I forgot the smiley face. :-)


18 posted on 01/11/2010 6:48:39 PM PST by lbryce (Obama Notwithstanding, America's Best Days Are Yet To Be .)
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To: lbryce

I think you are misreading the central argument of the report. I think your vision of “anti-american” clouds a very useful, and probably true, understanding presented in this article.


19 posted on 01/11/2010 7:21:47 PM PST by Bayard
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To: Bayard

Thank you very much for your comments

I admit I didn’t read the entire article but got through the first few pages and the impression I had was that the unique culture of America, the society symbolized as the American culture brought the onset of mental illness unique to us globalized in a way never experienced locally until recent times..

If you have the time. consideration I’d welcome any comments you may have to offer that might enlighten me. Thanks once again.


20 posted on 01/11/2010 7:42:49 PM PST by lbryce (Obama Notwithstanding, America's Best Days Are Yet To Be .)
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To: lbryce

(BIG GRIN!) You’re welcome!


21 posted on 01/11/2010 8:27:09 PM PST by DieHard the Hunter (Is mise an ceann-cinnidh. Cha ghéill mi do dhuine. Fàg am bealach.)
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To: lbryce

(BIG GRIN!) You’re welcome!


22 posted on 01/11/2010 8:27:13 PM PST by DieHard the Hunter (Is mise an ceann-cinnidh. Cha ghéill mi do dhuine. Fàg am bealach.)
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To: lbryce
men in the region also suffer from koro, which is characterized by the debilitating certainty that their genitals are retracting into their bodies.

How can they TELL? /sarc>

Cheers!

23 posted on 01/11/2010 8:29:25 PM PST by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.http://home.tia)
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To: SirJohnBarleycorn

!!!!!!!! - love it!


24 posted on 01/11/2010 8:45:23 PM PST by 3catsanadog (If healthcare reform is passed, 41 years old will be the new 65 YO.)
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To: lbryce
very interesting

yes I have a similar mental illness myself. Its caused by the delayed stress syndrome of being lied to.

evidence for diagnosis : I walked in the house last night to wash up from intalling spark plugs in my old pick-up and the TV was on , it was Obama....AGAIN ! .... AGAIN ! ! ! , I threw my dirty cap aginst the wall in anger , and a huge black stunned spider fell out of the hat onto hardwood floor

25 posted on 01/11/2010 10:19:03 PM PST by KTM rider ( ..........tell me this really isn't happening ! !)
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To: Manic_Episode

But the yarmulke just becomes a landing pad for birds. They can’t resist. So it’s like out of the pan and into the fire.

(btw your fly phobia is hilarious)


26 posted on 01/11/2010 10:29:17 PM PST by Yardstick
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To: Yardstick
I guess I could wear a beanie with a propeller, (are those kosher?)

but my phobia is only with the flies, the birds I welcome:

Oh pointy birds, oh pointy pointy

anoint my head, annointy 'nointy

27 posted on 01/12/2010 5:40:30 AM PST by Manic_Episode (Some mornings, it's just not worth chewing through the leather straps...)
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