Disorders and America

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Disorders and America

Postby Orwell » Tue Jan 23, 2007 5:16 pm

I have a longer rant on this, which I'll post later, but hopefully this will catch a few replies now.

What is it with America/The West/Civilized World and now declaring every fucking thing a disorder which must be 'cured by the sword and padded pocket'. Lack of acceptable racism and 1930's eugenics?
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Postby Flint the Dwarf » Tue Jan 23, 2007 5:56 pm

When people think something's wrong with them, they want to hear that something is wrong, and that doctors have it under control, and that money can solve their problems. If it's not a disorder, that means it's personal, and it's something they could fix themselves, but that's too hard. But if it is a disorder, if it's chemical, if it's just out of our reach, then only a helping hand can solve our problem. So that helping hand needs money before it really opens up, that's what insurance is for.

Doctors know this. I'm strongly under the belief that doctors will treat anything and sometimes, whatever method they use to treat them, it's basically placebo. Particularly in countries run by capitalism, where healthcare is a huge part of the economy. Apparently healthcare costs consumed 15% of America's GDP in 2003.

I dunno, is it a bad thing? On one hand, doctors are quick to overdiagnose and this is bad because the problem isn't always fixed, which results in repeat visits or just ineffectiveness and possibly worsening of the problem. On the other, it provides an insane amount of employment worldwide. Not as much as it should, possibly, because it seems the cost of medicine and medicinal products is overinflated which is misleading, but it's still significant. And because of capitalism, there is a lot of competition in private sectors. Unfortunately, a lot of that emphasis seems to be placed on miracle pills, hair loss, libido enhancers, and so forth. How much progress have we seen in the last 10 years, honestly? I can't say for sure, maybe there's more under the surface that I don't know about, but it doesn't seem like a whole lot. And maybe 10 years is too short a time to expect significant progress, but you'd think something would've come up.
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Postby Arigatomina » Tue Jan 23, 2007 8:41 pm

A lot of it has to do with laziness. No one wants to take responsibility for their own shortcomings. Do you have a short attention span? Get yourself tested for adult ADD. Do you have wild mood swings where you behave like a giggly ditz one second and a drama queen the next? Maybe you're bipolar. Are you tired of being a secretary? Try carpal tunnel syndrome - just say it's inoperable, half the time they don't even check.

Some people have actual chemical imbalances (physical evidence) that causes these "disorders". That can be helped with medication. Most people just whine about the right symptoms to get the diagnosis. Diagnosis means you have an excuse, you don't have to take responsibility for your actions/inactions. They don't want to find cures - they just want to publicize the disorder so more people will get themselves checked. I remember a point when half the kids in Ohio were on retalin (ADD meds) because the only symptom they needed to diagnose the "disorder" was "he won't sit still in class." Can't discipline your kid so he behaves in class? Just dope him up and there you go.

It's not just the rich people who partake in this. We support a lot of bums who've been diagnosed with "asthma" as a disability here in Indiana. Because of the river and all the poluting factories here - half the population has asthma, but only the very poor and the very rich can get a diagnosis of the obvious from a paid professional. I know an entire family of 12 I'm paying for through taxes - they sit on their front porch year round chain smoking away because, as the sign on their front door says, there's "oxygen tanks" inside. I used to work for their landlord - I know how much they make per month to sit on their asses smoking, running one of the kids to the hospital every other day for everything from ear-aches to scrapes because it's already paid for. All care of the working class. Gotta love this country where the working class pays taxes so bums can get a free ride when the working class can't even afford insurance for themselves when they get pneumonia from working in the wrong factory.
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Postby SarahtheBoring » Tue Jan 23, 2007 10:48 pm

Flint the Dwarf wrote:When people think something's wrong with them, they want to hear that something is wrong, and that doctors have it under control, and that money can solve their problems. If it's not a disorder, that means it's personal, and it's something they could fix themselves, but that's too hard.


x2. At least my cynical side says x2. And mind you, I HAD one of those imaginary syndromes until a couple of years ago, and will probably keep it at bay for years to come. I don't think I'm special or better than anyone else, and I hate the "touched by fire" mentality so much I could break things. (i.e. "My medical diagnosis makes me better than you.") If you have a bad golf swing or never pick up your socks or, you know, have self-negating mental habits that make you miserable, you work to change them because it makes life easier. That's all.

I roll my eyes at self-diagnosis, particularly by anyone who is a teenager (because I was very, very stupid then, too), and by overachieving robo-parents who won't accept any normal range of human flaws in their precious and expensive offspring. But those are kind of stereotypes. Those can be factored out.

Another factor at play is the "I'm unique because I have this label, and it makes me who I am" mindset. I think a lot of people have far too much energy wrapped up in the concept of being "special." In a lot of different ways.

But this is kind of a vague question, too. What in particular are we discussing? My angle is mostly mental health, because that's what I know the most about. It's definitely not limited to that.
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Postby godix » Tue Jan 23, 2007 11:42 pm

A significant portion of the population are drama queens that ALWAYS need something wrong in their life. The civilized countries of the world have, to a large degree, fixed the common complaints through history. It is now unlikely that someone will starve to death in a first world nation. Most won't be randomly tortured by a sadistic government just for thrills (and no, being searched at an airport isn't torture although it is pretty useless). It's unlikely you'll experience real persecution because of your race, gender, or religion. Sure, some people are openly sexist or racist but it's not like the government will feed you to some lions for entertainment like used to happy. Poor used to mean 'almost starving to death' and now poor means 'have to settle for a playstation 2 because I can't afford a PS3.'

So the last really major common complaint of people that hasn't been mostly solved in the first world is health. Now cancer is good for drama queens. You get lots of attention and sympathy and a pretty pink ribbon to boot. The problem is there's tests for cancer. It's fairly clear cut, you got it or you don't. So we have to make up medical shit. Feeling a little down? Bang, you got depression. Instant drugs, attention, and sympathy. Have a minor cough? Well it can't be a cold, no sympathy in that, no it's gotta be something that you take enough antibiotics to spawn a thousand antibiotic resistant germs. Have trouble walking? It can't be that you're 600 fucking pounds and your ankles scream from mercy from god every time you stand up. It's gotta be low calcium in the bones or weak muscles or something like that. Doesn't matter what, as long as people go 'Oh, you poor thing....' when they hear.

The part of the population that isn't drama queens do lack perspective. If you're in Sudan and trying like hell not to get raped, beheaded, buried alive, or in some other way killed in a really horrifying way then a little depression doesn't seem all that important. If the most traumatic thing in your life is that your favorite American Idol got voted off then a little depression suddenly seems a huge deal. As we solve major problems in society the minor problems start to see worse for lack of comparison. For example, a woman suffering discrimination used to mean they couldn't vote, couldn't get a job, most likely couldn't get higher education, and were expected to be the classic barefoot and pregnant. So those problems were, mostly, solved. Now woman claim they're victims of sexual discrimination if someone says their hair looks nice today.

Another part is just people are fucking gullible. America is bombarded with ads telling us that there are magic pills that make everything better. Take the drugs and your life is miraculously better with no effort on your part. Want to lose weight? Fuck all the exercise and eating right shit, just take the magic fat ripper pills right after eating your second double quarter pounder of the day. Feeling sad? No need to look at what is wrong in your life to cause that, just drug yourself stupid. Can't get a hard on? Just down some viagra, hell, the government is full of old fuckers who can't get their dick up for anything less than an 18 year old page in a blue cumstained dress so they understand, the government will pay to get your wrinkled 80 year old defective dick rock hard. Fuck you bitches who want birth control though, old men don't care who they get preggers so why should the government pay for that shit? Anyway, point being, even if your not a drama queen and you manage to keep some perspective on what is really a problem then you might eventually start buying into the constant stream of ads telling you how horrible your life is now and how it'll be oh so great if you just take more drugs than an entire 60's hippie commune combined.

And the final reason I see everyone promoting a war on terrorism, sexism, poverty, cancer, and god knows whatever else we declared war on over the years: no one votes for the politician that says 'Things are pretty cool right now, vote for me and I'll try not to fuck it all up'. Nope, we're dumb enough to vote for the person who tells us how horrible life is and how much greater they'll make it. Even though deep down almost all of us know life isn't horrible and a politician ain't making it better.
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Postby godix » Wed Jan 24, 2007 12:00 am

I went on a rant about 80 year old geriatric bastards who are worried about getting their dick hard instead of just dying like god meant 80 year olds to do. Then I go check my email. What's the first thing I see? An email subject of 'last more than 1 hr in bed' from 'KeepYour RockHard'. Yeah. Thanks spammers. Now my life is full of synchronicity about 80 year old wrinkled dicks. Great. I'm fucking ecstatic. God I need some prozac.
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Postby SQ » Wed Jan 24, 2007 2:12 am

I love you Godix.

I had a large post in mind... Then I realized Ari covered it.
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Postby Moonlight Soldier » Wed Jan 24, 2007 9:33 pm

I notice this particularly in the U.S. Especially when they advertise medicine everywhere oO

In my experience, Canada doesn't diagnose clinical disorders as often.
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Postby Shazzy » Thu Jan 25, 2007 12:47 am

I think a lot of this relates to lack of purpose. In modern society, a lot of people don't have purpose or think they need to find one. Innate will-to-live forces people in literal life-or-death situations to find practical ways to spend their time, such as killing the nearest wild animal for dinner to prevent starvation. Civilization eliminates survival instinct, because hey, your basic needs are taken care of no matter what (thank you, welfare!). So, what do most American kids grow up living for? Their own entertainment. That rarely provides lasting, lifelong satisfaction. People are happier when they're working for something they believe is worthwhile; I daresay that's why people here try to create AMVs instead of just watching them. If you're you're not used to thinking "valuable work = happiness," it's easy to conclude is "I'm unhappy, I have no idea why, I must be abnormal, I must have a disorder, someone fix me."

I'll use my family member with serious, actual, clinical depression as an example. She does not have a reason to get up in the morning. She really does have an imbalance in her brain. Whether that imbalance was inevitable or whether years of mentally going through a negative feedback loop created the imbalance, I don't know. In all frankness, if she doesn't experience a radical paradigm shift in the next few years, she probably will kill herself. Yet, place her in a physical survival situation and suddenly the extreme depression disappears. As soon as she is absolutely forced to have a purpose, that human instinct kicks in and she is FUNCTIONAL. And in her case, being functional is absolutely amazing. For as long as that situation lasts (and sometimes a few hours after, if we're lucky), she's normal again. So anyway, that's my anecdotal twist on the sudden influx of mental problems. We'd be a lot better off if we taught our kids to see personal satisfaction as a process rather than a magical event. You have to WORK to be satisfied with yourself. If you don't find a reason to live and something to work for, you're gonna be unhappy. End of story.
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Postby Gox777 » Thu Jan 25, 2007 3:32 pm

I think a lot of this relates to lack of purpose.

We'd be a lot better off if we taught our kids to see personal satisfaction as a process rather than a magical event.


Couldn't agree more!

This actually reminds me of a conversation some friends and I were having at a LAN party. (Yes, we usually take time out at around 4A.M. until sunrise to have intellectual discussions).

We were talking about why there's so much teen angst (emo) going around in society. I put blame on neglectful and abusive parents. A good friend of mine blamed it on useless medications. His argument was basically what you all have been saying; Kids get this idea that there's something wrong with them, they don't want anyone to know, they eventually stop taking the meds when they're older, and the problems go from there.
It's a theory I've been becoming more convinced by lately.

Lack of purpose is the clearer reason that I see.
Medications could be part of the cause though.
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Postby SQ » Thu Jan 25, 2007 7:34 pm

Gox777 wrote:Kids get this idea that there's something wrong with them, they don't want anyone to know, they eventually stop taking the meds when they're older, and the problems go from there.
It's a theory I've been becoming more convinced by lately.

Lack of purpose is the clearer reason that I see.
Medications could be part of the cause though.
I don't know. (Or maybe I'm not understanding what you've said here).

I was dperessed for a few years, and I'd classify it as your basic emo. It was because I hated my parents because they generally didin't support me with what I wanted to do (AMVs), etc., etc.

Then, in highschool, in escalated into a monumentus event where I simply could not function. Being as every female in my entire famliy had been diagnosed with Depression, I was quickly diagnosed as well, and let me tell you that staring into space and not caring about anything, even how boring staring into space is, is not fun.

From my (d)evolution from emo to Depressed, I never, ever had serious thoughts about hurting myself or committing suicide for attention, or otherwise.
Now, there were suicide notes, but those were to myself to let out stress(having a blog or simply writing in a diary really does help relieve stress, I've found), NOT serious.

So, I get this medication so I can, you know, function, and stop failing school and having panic attacks where I can't stop crying about shit.
Well, two weeks pass, and I can function, but the depression itself is worse. I feel like crap, I suddenly have this realization that I don't care about anything and that's bad, and i start cutting. And I start threatening suicide and seriously contemplating it.

I hated every second I was on those meds, but at the same time, I knew I needed them, or else I'd go back to that vegetative mass that did nothing by cry all the time.

After roughly a year of switching through different meds and seeing counselors, psychiatrists, and psychologists that didn't seem to care about me(I honestly just had bad luck; my insurance changed multiple times so I had to abandon the one good psychologist I had) I had the worst breakdown in the history of all my Depression while I was on two different medications.

I wanted to go to an insane asylum. I wanted to get away from my parents(because of stress) and I was threatening all sorts of self-harm just to do that. My parents had my horrible psychiatrist asking him what the fuck they should do, and he said just keep me calm. I said I just wanted to go to a damn hospital and that was it. Was it really so hard to get me rehab??

Well, apparently it was. After that I got higher doses of my current meds, and when I had another breakdown, I switched meds. But I never took the new meds.

See, after my breakdowns I had realised that I was doing "fine" in the whole motivating myself area, to a certain extent, and the meds were holding me back with their worsening of the depression side effects.

My parents and my psychiatrist didn't believe I was strong enough to go off the meds. They all said I needed at least another year of meds. Now, I was 18 at this time, so I should've been able ot make my own decision. But apparently they wouldn't let me. :roll:

Long story short, I stopped taking the pills behind their backs, no crash and burn EVER occurred, and I'm doing WAY better now.

I have small crying fits, but the last for about 10 seconds. Far cry from the two hour long dehydrating spiels of high school.

Deduct want you want from that, it's just my overtly summarized story.
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Postby SarahtheBoring » Thu Jan 25, 2007 7:57 pm

Yes, "just a little down" is not depression. Anyone who is merely whiny and says they're "depressed" (or for that matter, "bipolar" when they're merely ordinary drama queens) is a fucking poseur. Some people do have real problems, and the fact that some idiots co-opt those names just to be attention whores doesn't change that fact.
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Postby SQ » Thu Jan 25, 2007 8:00 pm

The sad fact is the people who actually have the problems hardly ever say anything because they don't care they have a problem. Or at least was the case for me.

Hell, I was all up and down high river about how crappy my life was when I was "emo". But as soon as I hit un-medicated Depression mode, I just shut up and became a vegetable.
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Postby Ch3aLs3A L!n@ » Thu Jan 25, 2007 8:55 pm

:shock:
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Postby Copycat_Revolver » Fri Jan 26, 2007 11:22 am

Maybe it's just me but it seems like this flooding of disorders is some sort of ironic full circle back to the ways of the dark ages.
Long long ago, if something was wrong with you, you'd go to the village doctor and no matter what was wrong, he'd say, "Demons have possessed you, young squire. That is why your head aches. Lo, it be the Devil!" Then they would strap you to the ceiling and bleed you or attach leeches to suck the demons out. That was the basis of medical practices back then for just about everything from cramps to dementia.
Now, of course, we're much more enlightened. We have technological advancements on our side. So now when you don't feel good for whatever reason, you go to the doctor's office and he tells you, "From what you've told me, you must have a disorder! That must be why you don't feel cheery and sh*t rainbows all day long." Then he prescribes you medication that causes your stomach to shrivel up, your skin to break into rashes, and blood to pour out your rectum faster than 5$ beer at a rock concert...but hey, your anxiety is gone.
The only difference here is that now it seems more self-inflicted. Our great advances in modern convenience has cultured a deep-rooted laziness that has gone so far that rather than except responsibility for our own actions, we use these disorders as an excuse for our behavior.
"I don't have to be nice to you. I'm a manic depressive."
"I don't have to act civilized in public. I'm bipolar. Now get me a donut or I'll bite off your face."

I don't doubt that these are actual conditions. They most certainly are. The problem lies in the lack of any real reliable standard for screening these problems.
If you walk into any mental health center or similar establish, you can get any diagnosis you want. They ask you every question you could ever think of and they take your word for it without blinking.
So if you want to have multiple personalities, just wait for the question: "Do you ever hear voices in your head that are not your own?"
Ta-da! You're on your way to a prescription.
In any case, the point is: There are too many people who think they have disorders, and doctors are far too willing, even eager, to fling drugs at any problem that would normally take hard work and dedication to cure.
And this whole cycle of doom is urged on by our constant thirst for some kind of witch hunt to keep us busy, so we wage war on disorders and drug them into submission.

So why is this so prevalent in America and not so much in other countries? Possibly because we are on the cusp of technological development and that technology has made us immobile. We've forgotton what a real struggle is so we have to create our own to keep away the urge to drive spikes through our heads.
For example, think back to when the washing machine was invented and became standardized. Suddenly everyone was ecstatic. "I don't have to wash my clothes by hand anymore." But pretty soon, the standard became to have a laundry machine and all of the other modern home conveniences. Then it wasn't long before everyone forgot how to wash by hand. If we can't figure out how to wash our clothes without a machine, or cook meals without a microwave, or take care of yourself without constant medical advice, then we become more and more useless, unable to fend for ourselves. We become slaves to whatever is fed to us.
Right now in this country we have more free time available to us than any group of people in history. And we've eliminated most of the obvious inconveniences in our daily lives. When we're not whining about political correctness, what the hell else are we supposed to do with our time but worry and make each other miserable?
When a doctor raises his hand and says, "Well, it could be that this constant dread you feel is caused by a chemical imbalence in your brain." Suddenly everyone realizes that there might be a reason for their stupid behavior and they all grab for disorders like life preservers after a shipwreck.

Jeez, what the hell was I talking about?

Anyway, that's just what I think. But maybe I'm overthinking this. Maybe there's something wrong with me...
[end of meandering rant. must sleep now.]
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