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The Impact of Globalization on the Third World and on People With Psychiatric Disabilities

Andrea M. Cooke, University of Illinois, USA

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This paper is about the impact of globalization on people with psychiatric disabilities; it compares the state of psychiatry in the developing and developed nations and how they influence each other. Globalization is the process of the formation of a global capitalist world system, and embodies economic, social cultural and political elements.

Understanding the process of globalization and its effects on people with disabilities in developing countries is important because how the psychiatric process plays out min developing countries has an impact on the West and vice versa. A global study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2004 found that 1-5% of the world's population has a mental illness. However, global figures of mental illness are not thought to be accurate because of stigmatization. As the knowledge economy spreads, though, more people in developing countries will be identified as having a mental illness and globalization will bring at least some forms of psychiatric treatment to developing countries.

In this paper, I will discuss how western psychiatry has had an influence on the mentally ill of developing countries and, in turn, how some of their indigenous treatments have had an influence on the West. I intend to discuss both consequences, with a special emphasis on how globalization has impacted people with psychiatric disabilities worldwide. This paper intends to show the inter-influence of psychiatric practices around the world.

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