American culture is homogenizing the way the world goes mad. Our exportation of everything from movies to junk food is a well-documented phenomenon. But neither our golden arches nor our bomb craters represent our most troubling impact on the world: the bulldozing of the human mind itself.
In Crazy Like Us, leading trend-spotter and science writer Ethan Watters shows that we are not only changing the way the world treats and understands mental illness, we are actually changing the symptoms and prevalence of the diseases themselves.
Watters travels the world to illustrate the ways in which Western influences have changed mental illness.
In Hong Kong, he meets teenagers who have learned from American culture that anorexia is the modern way to express distress, and who began refusing food after a wave of Western celebrities and researchers began raising awareness. In Zanzibar, he witnesses a much milder and more bearable form of schizophrenia than what we have in the States.
In Sri Lanka, he sees western crisis counselors bungle the treatment of tsunami victims and actually cause the community more distress.
And in Japan, he tells the story of the drug companies selling depression itself to create a market for a new drug.
Todd Oppenheimer works as a journalist at The Writers' Grotto. During his 25 years as a journalist, Oppenheimer has won a variety of national awards for his writing and investigative reporting and has appeared on numerous radio and television programs, including ABC's "Nightline." His articles have appeared in The New Yorker, Newsweek, The Atlantic Monthly, The Washington Post, Columbia Journalism Review, Mother Jones, and an assortment of daily and weekly newspapers.
He is the author of The Flickering Mind: Saving Education from the False Promise of Technology, a finalist for the Investigative Reporters and Editors Book Award.
Ethan Watters is the author of Urban Tribes, an examination of the mores of affluent "never marrieds" and the coauthor of Making Monsters, a groundbreaking indictment of the recovered memory movement.
A frequent contributor to The New York Times Magazine, Discover, Men's Journal, Details, Wired, and NPR, he has appeared on such national media as "Good Morning America," "Talk of the Nation," and CNN.