What is recovery? Recovery in mental illnesses can mean living a meaningful and productive life despite a disability. It can also refer to a reduction or complete remission of symptoms and a healing transformation of the self. For most people, it refers to the power of hope in healing disorders that were once thought to be hopeless. As Henry Ford once said, "Whether you think you can, or you think you can't, you're right."

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Crazy Like Us on Madness Radio

Madness Radio is a wonderfully informative and entertaining source of alternative perspectives on mental health, hosted by Will Hall, survivor of a schizophrenia diagnosis. I recently listened to Will's interview with Ethan Watters regarding Watters’ book, Crazy Like Us: The Globalization of the American Psyche.  Watters’ theory is that our own ideas about the nature of mental disorders unconsciously influence their literal manifestation. Based on this theory, he further argues that America globally exports not only its categorization and treatment of mental disorders, but the nature of these disorders themselves. He makes a fascinating case for this, beginning with a description of an explosion in anorexia in Hong Kong following the introduction of Western ideas about it. Watters is not arguing that anorexia did not exist in Hong Kong prior to the importation of American ideas about it, but that it existed in much smaller numbers and with a different clinical picture. He says that the introduction of new ideas about anorexia unconsciously gave people new ways to express their suffering. This is a fascinating interview that I think everyone interested in mental health should hear. I hope to read Watters’ book when I get a chance. 

Watters, E. (2011, January 2). Interview by W. Hall. Exporting Mental Disorders. Madness Radio. [Audio file]. Retrieved from http://www.madnessradio.net/madness-radio-exporting-mental-disorders-ethan-watters

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