America is on too many drugs
“Tell your doctor? Tell your doctor?… Shouldn’t my doctor be telling me?… When you tell your doctor, isn’t he just a dealer at that point?” Bill Maher
While I was watching TV, a commercial came on for a drug that treated something called Restless Leg Syndrome. “Wow,” I thought to myself, “they aren’t even trying to come up with clever names for these conditions anymore. I wonder if Restless Leg Syndrome has ever been diagnosed in Darfur?”
But of course, it hasn’t, since Restless Leg Syndrome is one of the dozens of thoroughly exaggerated and over-diagnosed diseases and disorders that continue to sweep Americans by the thousands off their couches and into the doctor’s office complaining about all kinds of ordinary life problems in the hope that Medicare covers them.
In America these days, everyone is a self-appointed doctor. School teachers aggressively push the diagnosis of autism and other disorders in their students in pursuit of extra funding or teaching assistants. Lazy parents conclude their kids have Attention Deficit Disorder and require Ritalin any time their children feel like running around acting like, well, children. And any time someone feels sad about something in life, it is of course due to an unnatural chemical imbalance in their head – and there are plenty of Prozac-inspired drugs out there waiting to “cure” them.
After looking at the statistics of diagnoses of modern “diseases” around the world, one immediately begins to wonder why all the fatass, depressed people with thyroid problems and penises that don’t work seem to be living in America (on a side note, perhaps these conditions are related somehow?). Hot damn, what a coincidence! Or shall we consider, for just a second, that perhaps our spoiled, commodity-driven, over-developed, first-world, blame-someone-or-something-else-for-your-problems, politically-correct (what happened to “retarded”?), drug-obsessed, fatty-fat-fat and attention-deficit society is somehow driving forward the behemoth pharmaceutical companies and their economic allies to stir up such a frenzy?
The recent advertising techniques being implemented by these companies are no less than deceptive. Their use of .info web domains and “you’re-going-to-die, but-this-happy-golden-retriever-along-with-our-medicine-can-conveniently-save-you” public service announcements are turning over billions of dollars. As the Media Education Foundation puts it, “Proffered as a means of helping the public recognize symptoms of serious but treatable illnesses, disease awareness functions as a stealthy marketing tool, building consumers’ anxiety that they may be ill and in need of a particular drug.”
Don’t get me wrong: it’s absolutely fantastic that American drug companies are the innovators that they are. By originating so many scientific developments, not only does the American economy earn billions more dollars than other nations, but it also helps us keep our “edge” in the world against potential enemies. I mean, can you imagine if Viagra had been first discovered in North Korea? Kim Jung Il would surely have sold it to Iran, who then would have probably mounted it onto nuclear missiles before bombing the hell out of Israel. Jesus, that would have been an extremely long-lasting boner.
In “The Fattening of America,” published this month (January 2008), Eric Finkelstein provides one of the only fresh, honest takes on this unhealthy phenomenon. According to his research, adult obesity more than doubled in the US between 1960 and 2004, rising from 13 percent to around 33 percent. In the rest of the world, only Saudi Arabia fares worse than the United States in terms of the percentage of adults with severe weight problems – 35 percent of people in the oil-rich desert kingdom are classified as obese, the book says, citing data from the World Health Organization and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Isn’t that just so hilarious and perfect that Saudi Arabia is the only fatter nation than America? It seems to immediately confirm the fact that rich nations are their own worst enemy when it comes to the personal health of their citizens; as Finkelstein states, “Obesity is a natural extension of an advancing economy. As you become a First World economy and you get all these labor-saving devices and low-cost, easily accessible foods, people are going to eat more and exercise less.”
This concept can explain not only obesity issues, but the general state of America and the advancing world economy. With the ever-shrinking percentage of subsistence-living world citizens and of people who do a fair amount of physical work each day, it should become obvious to intelligent people that blaming obesity on McDonald’s or Attention Deficit Disorder on man-made sugar misses the point. It’s not that Americans are simply lazy, or that any of these emerging diseases are necessarily valid diseases, but rather that the ever-modernizing world demands less and less from its participants for the system to continue working.
With large corporations taking care of more and more production needs, the majority of people in the world are becoming consumers rather than producers. These “consumers” then sit on the couch until they are convinced of the next product they should purchase – unfortunately, there is no boundary when it comes to medicine.
Of course, the drug companies love this vicious cycle: there is no easier sale than a fat lady sitting at home without a family who hates her life, whose legs feel constantly strained under her masses of cellulite and who has trouble sleeping due to her enormous breasts smashing the living daylight out of her lungs. Prozac, Mirapex, and Ambien… gotcha, bitch!
This article was previously published in New U. in 2008