We are addicted to our chemicals, you and me, and that’s a problem. Not just for you or me. It’s a problem for our kids. Equipped from birth to imitate us, what do we show them?
Got a headache? Grab an aspirin or an ibuprofen, or something else for pain. We have many choices. Seems harmless enough. And it is – most of the time. After all, they sell “baby aspirins” for babies. They seem to work too, if given properly, and not too much. Makes sense. A headache isn’t, really, behavior. The chemical we take works on our physical body, right?
Sometimes, though, when we’re too tense, or there’s too much stress in our life at the moment, a headache – or a backache, or a soreness somewhere else in your body – can occur. We say it’s “stress-related.” That’s what our doctors, friends and family members will tell us. Even in the modern world, stress and tension affects all of us. You too?
We’ve found out, over time, that some kind of sedative – a Xanax or two – will give us relief – and if we plan on it, we probably won’t need an aspirin for pain. Pain relief is important, of course. Relief allows us to get on with the day, minus the headache, backache, or soreness. It’s something going on in human tissue – maybe our blood vessels are “constricted,” maybe our muscles are “tense,” or maybe we just need to calm down. Anyway, it doesn’t matter. The pill seems to help.
Maybe you know someone who’s been in a funk for a while. You’re informed. Why not give a friend a Valium if you think it will help her? After all, why suffer the “symptoms” of this “disease” when relief is a pill away? No need to go to a doctor, except for that damn prescription. You know your friend is depressed. You know her story. She needs a “boost” to get over the funk. It’s obvious.
Or, instead of sharing your chemicals, you provide your own diagnosis, and you make a referral.
“Bob, you’re bi-polar. Maybe you need some medication. It’s really helped me. Please call my doctor.”
Bob does. The psychiatrist provides the right diagnosis within the first ten minutes, he suggests a chemical, and Bob agrees. Bob says he finds comfort in that pill. He becomes convinced he has a “chemical imbalance” of some kind, and the fix is in.
Not only is Bob relieved of his symptoms, he is now among the informed, and an advocate. Why wouldn’t he be? By the way, Bob’s doctor has a host of chemicals to “treat” bi-polar disorder. There are 52 to choose from, including Zyprexa, Zoloft, Wellburtrin, Tegretol, Seroquel, Risperdal, Lexapro, Geodon, Effexor, Depakote, Abilify – and 41 others. (See the rest here)
Maybe you had a recent tragedy you can’t seem to get over. There’s relief for you at the drug store too. Oddly enough, if one of your problems is abusing an illegal chemical, you can find a legal chemical to help you shake your chemical addiction.
There are chemicals, we are told by our doctors, for anxiety, depression, too much activity, or not enough activity. There are mood elevators, mood depressants, and chemicals for hallucinations. You can get a chemical to help with bedwetting, obsessing or compulsing too much, as well as lack of hunger or too much hunger. Chemicals are sold to help you sleep, to mute your aggression, or to help you with social isolation.
And, ladies, there’s more to come, though you’ll have to have a “disease” if you want the chemical. Big Pharma companies are sprinting as fast as they can to be the first to offer a chemical to “treat” the recently created new “disease”: Sexual Interest/Arousal Disorder in Women. (Don’t believe it? Check it out here.)
It’s the race to develop “female Viagara,” and Big Pharma is drooling.
The prize goes to the first one to get approval by the FDA. It will be worth billions worldwide, and it’s a business response to customer demand. After all, if men can have Viagara, why can’t women have something too? You will. I’m confident you’ll have many choices from which to choose. “Love Potion #9” seems like it might be a good name – and a big seller. Look for the ads.
For some convoluted but alarmingly convincing reasons, we have, in the past 25 years in particular, gotten accustomed to going to a medical doctor for help for behavioral problems, as if difficult behavioral problems are medical in nature. They are not, but it really doesn’t matter. There is relief found in those chemicals. Even when there isn’t, at least you’re “in treatment.” You have an imbalance of some kind, and you feel better taking your chemicals.
Psychiatrists are more than willing to help, of course. There’s no pretense anymore. You see a psychiatrist, and a psychiatrist sees you, to prescribe you a chemical to relieve your discomfort. You go to someone else for therapy. More than that, you soon become a disciple, adept at diagnosing and prescribing all at the same time.
The chemicals seem to work so well, we reason, we should give them to our children. After all, we give them chemicals for the flu or asthma, why not for their “disorders.” And it’s on the rise. The use of chemicals to address these false “diseases” has risen four fold in 20 years. No cures, mind you. Just lots of “diseases,” and lots and lots of chemicals.
You may have to lower your expectations too, just a little bit. Many believe children with these “diseases” are “handicapped” or “disabled.” Maybe you believe it’s true too.
It isn’t, of course. It’s nonsense. Your kids aren’t sick.
Selling chemicals is a business. You, me – and our kids – are customers.
NEXT YKAS ESSAY: The Business of Selling Chemicals
(NOTE: I recently published an article I wrote back in 1988. It was about the growing chemical culture nearly a quarter century ago. It’s eerily relevant. When you can, please see The Era of Chemicals – Redux. – RC)