Beverly K. Eakman
The John Birch Society
August 6, 2009
Fox News just informed viewers that 27 million Americans are being treated for depression. The Washington Times ran a three-part series this week on the tsunami of mental illness in New Orleans four years after Hurricane Katrina, mostly depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A rash of additional articles has appeared nationwide on obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), including one from last Sunday’s (August 2) Washington Times “Pure suffering for OCD Patients,” by Cheryl Weinstein. All news sources, regardless of political persuasion, lend the aura of medical legitimacy to these phenomena.
But just three years ago, we were hearing a vastly different story: “Cheer up: U.S. not so depressed,” a 2006 Washington Times headline proclaimed, the gist being that reports of epidemic levels of clinical depression were greatly exaggerated — and possibly bogus, along with statistics on alcoholism and anxiety.
The problem — and nearly every news source and medical professional acknowledges it — is that mental illnesses, especially depression, PTSD and OCD, are difficult, if not impossible, to diagnose or quantify. There is no X-ray, blood test, DNA or other chemical analysis that nails these as bona fide sicknesses, such as one might seek, say, for a brain injury or diabetes. And while there is little question that people do suffer from acute, long-term sadness, stress and compulsive behaviors, there exists no direct, medical proof for the notion of biologically-based brain disorders, contrary to the claims of pharmaceutical companies and mental-health advocacy groups like the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).
What that means for average citizens is that there is no magic bullet, no medication, to “cure” what are essentially human phenomena, not medical conditions.
Read entire article: http://www.jbs.org/jbs-news-feed/5190