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Modern medicine has sold out

I hate the fact that I can’t ever watch television without being told that I might have some disease or illness. Drug commercials are permeating all other advertising.

Straterra, Zyban, Zoloft and Paxil are just some of the drugs that constantly interrupt my programs.

I am always a bit perplexed when I hear the end of these commercials. They always say things like, “side affects may include upset stomach, fever, dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, drowsiness, thoughts of suicide, etc.”

Is taking a drug really worth it, if there is a possibility of taking on a plethora of these other problems?

I question the validity of these supposed diseases and illnesses. I feel like these big pharmaceutical companies have meetings that would go as follows:

“What are some annoyances in behaviors that are common to man?”

“What are some difficulties in everyday life?”

“If we isolate these problems and annoyances, then make illnesses out of them, we will generate large portions of the market in which to sell our products.”

In other words, I feel medicine has gone from being about truly helping people and promoting healthy living to finding needs — and even creating needs — to fill. This is, by definition, marketing: finding a need and filling it. Is there really a place for marketing in medicine?

The scam continues. These “diagnoses” are necessary to legitimize the prescription, and the prescription supports the diagnosis, therefore medical insurance coverage is justified, and they will pay. This is circular logic.

Take Straterra for example, which is an adult form of Ritalin. All of a sudden adults are now prone to Attention Deficit Disorder. I guess that would be fine if I had ever been sold on giving Ritalin to children.

That is a case in which I think the pharmaceutical drug lords created a disease in which to make a huge profit. Their original meeting probably consisted of:

“Young boys are generally hyperactive and unfocused. How about we call this normal behavior ADD or ADHD and prescribe a form of speed. We can market it to teachers who are sick of disciplining their disruptive students and to young working couples who don’t have time to deal with their unruly children.”

Or how about Paxil? The drug companies’ way of marketing this pill is saying that it is for people with “social anxiety disorder.” They describe this “illness” as being for people that get nervous at times about talking to others or who are intimidated by large crowds.

Well, as far as I know, I’m guessing shy people make up about half the population. There is really no need to play on their possible lack of self-confidence even further by telling them they have a disorder.

Perhaps my examples are extreme. I am sure there are some people that may actually need these prescriptions. I just feel that it has gotten out of hand. The requirements needed to have these prescriptions filled are slim.

An increasing number of children are being prescribed Ritalin. And this prescription is a drug. It is a pharmaceutical drug, but a drug nonetheless. It is not something to take lightly.

Children who get addicted to pharmaceutical drugs that are relied upon early, are more prone to addictions later on in life, according to psychiatrist Dr. Breggin. They end up getting prescribed even more pills, as they get older and even form addictions to illegal drugs. Breggin reports a strong correlation between children on Ritalin to cocaine abuse later in life.

Children as young as three years old are being prescribed drugs. My mother is a nurse who has seen this first-hand. She has seen three-year-olds on prescriptions such as Ritalin. What is a three-year-old doing on behavioral prescriptions? How can there be an adequate evaluation at this young age? There is a wide range of abilities at three years old.

It seems to be more of an opportunity to relieve dysfunctional parents than to help a child.

Another problem my mother repeatedly observes is that prescriptions require other prescriptions. Because of the side effects of one pill, another pill is needed to counteract them, and so on. For example, if a child is prescribed Ritalin, a form of speed, they usually prescribe a pill to help the child sleep. Also, Ritalin contributes to a flat affect, so doctors usually prescribe at least two anti-depressants to counteract it.

So then what starts as one prescription, miraculously becomes at least four prescriptions.

A danger to this outpouring of pills is that in a lot of cases, long-term affects are unknown. According to WebMD.com, Ritalin may have caused the death of a 14-year-old Michigan boy in April of 2000. The boy, Matthew, had been taking Ritalin for ten years. “Ljubisa Dragovic, MD, chief pathologist of the Oakland County Medical Examiner’s office, tells WebMD that after a thorough analysis he concluded the boy’s small blood vessels showed scarring and tissue growth consistent with chronic stimulant use. According to Dragovic, Matthew had earlier complained of chest pains, then collapsed while playing on a skateboard.”

The majority of medicine is no longer about being safe, or truly helping people. It has become about comprising ethics to be another moneymaking enterprise that is more about treating symptoms than healing people from the inside out. It has become a frighteningly utilitarian system that doesn’t embrace differences, but labels them as illnesses. Shy people are to become more outgoing, while active and creative students are to become more studious and flat.

What if well-known, non-studious, “problem children,” such as Thomas Edison or Albert Einstein had been put on Ritalin? Who knows what detrimental effect this could have had on their great successes in scientific discovery and technological advances? Medicine needs to go back to its roots of truly helping people, recognizing problems that may stem from emotional or spiritual problems, rather than labeling all symptoms as physiological problems that result in popping pills.

Share your thoughts on prescription drugs with Kristi. Write her at [email protected].

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