To the People

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

America Twice As Messed Up In The Head As Before

There's an interesting bit of news out today--OK, maybe only interesting to me--citing firgures that show diabetes pill RXs among teens has exploded in the US. Especially among girls where it's up 167 percent over 2001 to about .27 percent of all girls (use among boys is up 33 percent). That tells you something of course and I am sure a food/soda nazi will soon use these numbers to rant about the evils of soda pop sold at corner markets.

Just as interesting, or not, is that the use of anti-depressants and ADHD drugs by teens is down, but that the use of antipsychotics is way up. Antipsych use has doubled since 2001 to the point where 1.2 percent of boys and .75 percent of girls are popping Seroquel and Zyprexa. That works out to about 1.5 million Americans under 20 years old dosing on these drugs. And it ain't over a doubling of schizophrenia.

These drugs are being prescribed for ADHD, bipolar disorder and depression because a loose collective of pharma companies, medical researchers and advocacy groups (funded by pharma companies, of course) have made it their job to convince America that it is seriously fucked in the head. Which it is, but more in a Paris Hilton way than in a Ted Bundy way. But a doubling in the use of antipsychotics--you know, the really serious chemical voodoo that makes patients sleep and get really fat--sorta makes me wonder if we haven't gone a bit far as a culture. Because what's the sense in medicating the hell out of teens when it hasn't worked particularly in adults, who in many cases are given a drug like Seroquel to be used as a sleeping pill (seriously)? What's the advantage of doing this when the drugs are hardly researched in teens and the research in adults shows that they aren't particularly effective and the long-term consequences of their use are truly gnarly (um, like death)? Besides, ADHD, bipolar disorder and depression almost never lead to psychosis, so why are docs--who are supposed to be fairly conservative in how they treat human bodies--handing out antipsyhcotics? Why are there ads for antipsychtoics on phone booths near college campuses?

Or is America really that fucked up?

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