Exploiting Insanity (Redrawn Infinity)

Reads: 420  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 0

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A brief look at the beginnings of an "cosmetic psychopharmaceutical" industry.

Submitted: April 06, 2010

A A A | A A A

Submitted: April 06, 2010

A A A

A A A


Exploiting Insanity.

Eleven thousand years ago, neolithic cavemen were, through a process called trepaning, drilling holes into their heads in order to release evil spirits from their skulls. This could be argued as the first signs of trying to treat mental illness in human history, skip back to the present day and curing mental illnesses is a multi billion dollar industry.

Everyone knows the basic principle, you take a pill and you get better, but this theory has only been around for the last 60 years or so, when companies realised they could profit greatly. And with the introduction of amphetamine the world saw the beginnings of cosmetic psychopharmaceutical companies and an idealist Utopian world, where, much like gene programming, emotions are chosen and controlled via science.

Now, the success of these projects cannot be ignored. Research such as that into serotonin and it's relation to mood have given us invaluable insights into the brain and how it works and have also given many people a way of leading a life that they would not have without medication. Everyone wants to be happy, and to speak out against a proposed solution to sadness could end up in you getting uncomfortably labeled as a promoter of suffering. But what's really happening is a mass marketing of substances that are not fully understood, to people who are not treated as individuals.

Mental illness is usually determined on a scale, such as the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.) This tries to operationalize those pieces of information that are unique to each person, into quantifiable, statistical data. Why? One reason is that a person could then be categorized more efficiently, with a definitive “breaking point” between sane and insane. Another is that it tries to angle people away from the ideas of psychoanalysis, such as psychiatrists and “self help.” But a side effect of this is, not only treating someone like a machine, but also reducing that individuals problems into one small ingredient that they missing. Which is about as possible as a pill claiming to prevent war, it's unrealistic.

And if we take this “individual” idea to a larger scale, we can see how western medical practices have already marketed illness to other cultures on the basis that they should comply to the same rules. Take Japan for example, Japan never had a word for depression before 2000, the nearest it had was a feeling of melancholy, which was considered to be an almost character building experience. There were no anti-depressants, and very little in the way of mental health facilities, simply because none were thought to be needed.

Then came the big brands, such as GlaxoSmithKline who saw a huge, untapped marketing potential, and set about trying to get the Japanese population to recognise what they saw as s perfectly normal and cultural emotion, into an abnormal disease. They created a new term for depression in Japan, which translates to “Cold of the soul” and then marketed this idea, before stepping in with a cure. And subsequently making a lot of money from this whole new level of globalisation.

The drugs themselves do not interact with each person in the same way, which theoretically could be a huge risk every time one is taken. And the drugs are also known to have adverse affects. Take Prozac for example, perhaps the worlds most well known anti-depressant, side effects from this have, strangely, been proven to increase suicidal thoughts and tendencies in patients taking them. And the information regarding long term usage of such drugs is very limited, though links have already been drawn between anti-psychotics and sterility in both men and women.

And psychotics are not just on sale to adults either, child psychiatric diagnostic techniques have recently come under fire due to a recent murder trial (Carolyn Riley) and the American Psychiatric Association is now calling for a change in how children are diagnosed with psychiatric problems. The condition targeted in this case is “Juvenile Bi-Polar Disorder,” which was used to categorize children with “conduct disorder” after it was shown they shared similarities with the bi-polar symptoms found in adults. It is upsetting however, when you look at the statistics. In 1995 just 1 in 4000 children in America were diagnosed as having juvenile bi-polar disorder, but in 2003, this had gone up to a frightening 1 in 100 children.

New guidelines have since been proposed, which would aim to cut the amount of children classified as bi-polar and would subsequently lower the amount of drugs prescribed. A step forward, but one that will need to built upon if we are to avoid over diagnosis in the future.

So while the usefulness of prescription drugs are undeniable to many people, sales need to have stricter monitoring, and awareness of the consequences needs to be made more openly available then in the small print. Everyone wants to be told that what they have is understood and that they can be given a “quick-fix” solution. People and tend to shy away from treatments such as psychotherapy or placebos, because scientists can't give them a straight, quantifiable, “guarantee.” Though for a high percentage of the time these techniques may be ultimately be more suited to many individuals. In conclusion diagnosis agencies, and the population in general need to view prescribed drugs as a last-resort, not a first-cure.


© Copyright 2020 Redrawn Infinity. All rights reserved.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Add Your Comments: