Several studies by the World Health Organization have compared outcomes of schizophrenia in the U.S. and Western Europe with outcomes in developing nations like Ghana and India. After following patients for five years, researchers found that those in developing countries fared “considerably better” than those in the developed countries.
“Take a young man with schizophrenia who’s socially unable to engage,” Keshavan says. “In a collectivistic culture, he’s still able to survive in a joint family with a less fortunate brother or cousin … he’ll feel supported and contained. Whereas in a more individualistic society, he’ll feel let go, and not particularly included. For that reason, schizophrenia tends to be highly disabling [in individualistic countries].” Individualist cultures also “[diminish] motivation to acknowledge illness and seek help from others, whether from therapists or in clinics or residential programs.” notes Russell Schutt, a leading expert on the sociology of schizophrenia.
What route would you take if you could do it again
- Live in a developing country with less severe symptoms and rely on family
- Live in a already developed country with harsher symptoms and be more of an individual