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Psychiatric Morbidity in Developing Countries and American Psychiatry's Role in International Health
Jonathan A. Sugar; Arthur Kleinman; Leon Eisenberg
Psychiatric Services 1992; doi:
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This review was completed while Dr. Sugar was a postdoctoral fellow in Harvard Medical School's training program in clinically relevant medical anthropology, which is supported by grant MH18006-05 from the National Institute of Mental Health. Additional support was provided by the Independent International Commission on Health Research for Development.

University of Michigan Medical Center; University of Michigan Medical School, 1500 East Medical Center Drive, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109

Harvard University; Harvard Medical School in Boston

Harvard Medical School

1992 by the American Psychiatric Association

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Abstract

Economic and social change in the developing countries of Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Pacific islands is associated with increased rates of behavior-related illnesses, including psychiatric disorders, alcoholism, and substance abuse. Between 10 and 20 percent of the presenting problems in primary care settings in those countries are psychosocial. The authors provide an overview of the epidemiology of psychiatric and psychosocial morbidity in developing countries and summarize its effect on medical care systems in those settings. They suggest that American psychiatry increase its involvement in improving mental health care in developing countries. Consultation should be directed toward priorities determined locally in those countries, including assessment of current clinical practices, applied epidemiologic research, and training of indigenous researchers.

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