The Spectator, November 11, 2010
by Haley Zblewski
More and more people, especially young adults, are being diagnosed with some sort of mental disorder.
From depression and anxiety, to Attention Deficit Disorder and bipolar disorder, mental disorder diagnoses are convenient. They sum up all of our problems on a prescription bottle filled with pills that will fix everything.
Pharmaceutical companies obviously want to sell their drugs, but the selling involves deceiving the consumer. They have to sell the illness first. They present advertisements that say, “Do you have symptoms A and B? Well, this is what’s wrong with you.” It offers consumers a solution to their everyday problems. But let’s face it; when it comes to the symptoms presented by the commercials you see while watching TV, we probably all feel them at some point.
Do you ever feel sad? Tired for no reason? Do you feel this way often? You’re probably depressed … or maybe you’re just a college student.
Feel awkward speaking in front of a crowd? Do you dislike being in crowds altogether? You must have some sort of anxiety disorder … or maybe you’re just human.
Doctors want to diagnose their patients with something. It’s what the patients expect – answers. And let’s not forget that doctors make money from the pharmaceutical companies for prescribing pills.
This deception by pharmaceutical companies and doctors about the be-all, end-all cures is what allows parents and young adults to go along with the idea that it’s OK to pop pills.
I mean, in a world where we want everything handed to us as soon as it’s needed, a world that runs on fast food and cell phones, it really isn’t surprising that being medicated isn’t really taboo anymore.
Parents almost want something to be wrong with their children. They want reasoning behind the behaviors of their children. Behaviors that are, well, typical of kids today. A diagnosis gives the parents all the proof they need to tell them it wasn’t their parenting skills, but that something’s wrong with their kid. It takes the blame away from parents.
Moods that go up and down, not paying attention in class, being sad or angry for no apparent reason; that’s just the way young people act. It shouldn’t have to be defined as a mental disorder.
What’s more is that there seems to be a cool factor that comes along with it for the younger generation. Disorders that were once taboo are now a means for bragging rights. Young adults say to their friends “I live with this everyday,” as though other problems are dwarfed by it. As though they are brave and superhuman for getting out of bed every morning. There’s a sort of mystery that comes along with taking pills. Think about it. When you see someone taking some nameless medication, don’t you think to yourself “Ohhh, I wonder what’s wrong with them”?
Mental disorders can also be a good excuse to not show up to class or hand in an assignment or to go to work. “It’s not that I didn’t finish my paper, professor. My depression was acting up and I was having a hard time dealing with it.”
These diagnoses are allowing people to label themselves as sick, when for many that’s far from the case.
With the taboo of being “crazy” having been lifted, we’ve just seen an increase of laziness, and, strangely enough, it has created people who think respect and compromises should be bent in their own direction.
A diagnosis does not fix all of your problems; in some instances, it only allows you to hide from them.