10/12/2002

10-12-02 - 1

10-12-02

The profusion of medical drugs for afflictions of the mind is really disturbing to me. The idea of treating the populace at large for minor problems in their mental state is based on the underlying assumption that the doctors can define a "normal" mind state, and that it's inherently good to have a mind which is more "normal". Now, certainly I agree that there are people like manic-depressives and schizophrenics who have serious chemical problems in their brains and who can really benefit from treatment. But, millions of americans with depression? "bipolar disorder"? "anxiety disorder"? "panic disorder"? "social phobia"? People are not perfect, we all have strange little behaviors that we're not always happy about. We're shy, insecure, stressed, pushy, selfish, hyperactive, etc. etc. at what point is this just "you" vs. "a problem"?

The obvious next step is that in order to increase sales of pharmaceuticals, more and more mundane behavior will be treated. Did you miss the bus and feel upset? Pop a pill. Did you spill wine on your shirt? You may have critical embarrasment disorder, pop a pill. Do you stand at the side of the room in dance clubs, ashamed to shake your booty? You have booty-shake phobia, pop a pill. Are you a bit of a bastard? You may have not-very-nice disorder. Pop a pill.

What scares me even more is when parents drug their children. I've seen many of my own friends in high school put on Prozac. Sure, they were a little depressed - but that was probably because their parents were divorced, their dad treated them like shit, and their mom slept around. The parents surely complained to the doctor about their "hard to manage little brat", and the doctor suggested Prozac. I've seem little kids on Ritalin being fed bowls of Frosted Flakes and drinking Coke. This shit really pisses me off, because these psychotropic drugs are not well understood, the brain is not well understood, and childhood is a critical development time - these children are quite possibly being permanently damaged.

There are tons of web pages on this stuff, search "psychotropic" on google.

1 comment:

david said...

I agree with your overall point:
There is a normal spectrum of behavior, and
it is tempting for pharmaceutical companies to
try to sell sell more of their product by re-defining "normal"
as a smaller and smaller range.
This allows more and more people to "qualify" for some drug or another.

If we do nothing to counteract this, then either
(a) we'll waste a lot of time and money on (effectively) sugar pills that do nothing, or worse
(b) we'll spend a lot of time and money
on pills that actually do work, resulting in
a world where everyone has pretty much the same behavior and emotions,
and any "diversity" or "creativity" is seen as abnormal.

However, I disagree with one of your examples that seems to promote the popular myth that sugar causes hyperactivity.

Jennifer Warner.
"Can Food Really Affect Your Child's Behavior?: Experts bust the sugar-hyperactivity myth and other misconceptions about food and children's behavior."(1)

Benton D.
"Sucrose and behavioral problems."(2)

NIMH.
"What Causes ADHD?"(3)

W. D. Craft.
"Festive Medical Myths"(4)
which alludes to
Vreeman and Carroll (2008),
"Festive medical myths"(5)

old rants