Science and medicine have so successfully rationalized and justified our society’s most devastating and pervasive form of child abuse that it remains almost wholly unacknowledged, though it is known to every sentient adult and to most children. Probably every adult and half-grown child in America knows and can identify at least one child who is the victim of this abuse. Those who teach, coach, minister to or otherwise serve children may know dozens or even hundreds of children who are victims of the new child abuse. Our society’s particular form of child abuse is the psychiatric diagnosing and drugging of our children.
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.
Drug giant Pfizer has canceled a scheduled clinical trial of its antipsychotic drug Geodon after the FDA accused it of subjecting child participants in a prior study to “widespread overdosing.”
Is nonconformity and freethinking a mental illness? According to the newest addition of the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), it certainly is. The manual identifies a new mental illness called “oppositional defiant disorder” or ODD. Defined as an “ongoing pattern of disobedient, hostile and defiant behavior,” symptoms include questioning authority, negativity, defiance, argumentativeness, and being easily annoyed.
Remember not so long ago when Prozac became the world’s largest selling medication of any kind, and then for years how Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft took over many of the top 10 spots? Remember the explanations at the time–that they were wonder drugs and that 15-50 percent or more of Americans would need them some time in their lives? To many people this seemed like a scientific breakthrough when in reality it was … a triumph of marketing.