Above: The professional literature in Psychiatry remains funded primarily by pharmaceutical companies. I get up to eight Psychiatry periodicals every month, all containing about 50% advertising, most of it by Pharma. This junk enjoys a privileged postage rate, because it is “educational.”
April 12, 2017–Reading old journal entries helps me focus blogs and show the trend of my thinking over time. In April, 2007, ten years ago this month, I was considering allowing my medical and DEA licenses to expire, because I felt used by a medical system that causes more disease and suffering than it alleviates. As a psychiatrist, I was under a virtual mandate to prescribe drugs that promised more help than they delivered. Not only that, but the system itself was so dysfunctional that it put everyone at risk.
ON MEDICINE AND PSYCHIATRY
Wednesday, April 18, 2007 – If I can get out of the business of medicine, I can enjoy the fun of medicine, when it’s done right.
It starts with honesty. We have created a sado-masochistic society that feeds failure and punishes success. In today’s climate, the individual doesn’t matter. “Equality” means bringing everyone down to the lowest common denominator, statistically speaking, to save the “economy” from the individuals who take more than they give.
Our society has rendered them so dysfunctional that they are incapable of doing anything useful and resentful of those who expect them to make an honest living.
What kind of psychiatrist would I be if I didn’t point out the insanity of that? I believe the individual matters, if only to herself. I matter enough to stand my ground in the face of society’s power struggles and to comment on the process.
The US psyche is caught up in the emotional two-year-old anal stage of psycho-sexual development, the “terrible twos,” the year of potty training, the age in which life-long issues related to power and power struggles emerge. The “self” vs. “not-self.”
As we play with the shit we have created, we are evolving, hopefully, toward a greater understanding of what it means to be free. Demonizing and drugging the individual mind and spirit is society’s game, not mine. I have evolved beyond the anal stage. I quit. Get ahead by slowing down. Take time to smell the roses before you pave them over.
This patient-churning prescription writing machine throws the government credentials—the medical licenses—into the compost bin. Thus relieved of the paper shield, I step from in front of the DEA’s guns to show them aiming at my back, to control invisibly every aspect of the prescription game.
They need me more than I need them, but only because they believe in drug laws. If there were no drug laws, we wouldn’t need the DEA, but doctors would still have jobs.
“Doctor,” a word my absentee bosses don’t know, is derived from the Latin “docere” meaning “to teach.” A doctor is fundamentally a teacher about health. That’s what I do – teach people about health, especially mental health.
You know what I tell my patients?
“It really is them,” I say. “They are the crazy ones. Don’t put your life on hold waiting for the government. You’ll grow old and die waiting. Live it up while you still can. Dance in the living room. Turn off the television, for your sanity’s sake. Shut off the mind and noise pollution so you can hear yourself think, and you’ll get back in touch with your common sense.”
ADHD (ATTENTION DEFICIT HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER)
Tuesday, April 3, 2007 – I enjoyed working with kids and parents yesterday. I gave practical advice and supported them in their efforts. A little six-year-old hugged me on the way out.
These aren’t bad kids. In fact, I think many who are branded with ADHD are brighter and more creative than the rest, with skills and interests that reach beyond the classroom. A 12-year-old girl who is about to fail sixth grade for the second time daydreams and draws during class. Likes violin and reading Japanese books in English.
I reassure them school really is boring, and teachers are busy pleasing absentee bosses. Moms nod vigorously, and the kids stare at me as if they are shocked I would express such heresy.
CME ON ADULT ADHD
Tuesday, April 3, 2007 – I read a Continuing Medical Education article on ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). Bottom line is there’s nothing new, except the diagnosis of adult ADHD.
Do you think anyone would consider causes pills won’t treat, like multi-sensory fatigue from the environment? Machine noise from traffic and power tools, airplanes, blowers, coffee grinders, speakers in coffee shops, grocery stores, hardware stores, banks, blaring “I Died and Went to Hell” music and advertising at top volume? The screeching, attention-starved voices from the halls of hell? Who can attend to anything with all that noise?
Think they might consider that the same drugs are used by drug addicts and schools to treat the same symptoms, but it’s okay if you have the correct diagnosis?
Think the lack of physical education in the schools, or the fact that kids with too much energy are punished by depriving them of play time might contribute to their hyperactivity?
It’s all in the brain chemistry, you know. Hit ‘em up with a little Adderall or Ritalin and we’ll let ‘em come back to school. Never mind that they have been suspended the last X days and are even further behind. They shouldn’t have acted out.
The other two psychiatrists here, Child & Adolescent psychiatrists, indulge me in my one-to-two minutes of tirade. Each says separately, unfortunately, the kids who come here need to be on meds. Doctors have adapted to being prescription writing machines, drones in the endless grind of patient-churning status quo. They see the hypocrisy, but they learn quickly to keep quiet, to show in behavior the repressed anger generated by power abuses.
Learned helplessness vies with identification with the aggressor, but do you think psychiatrists make the connection between abstract understanding and the evidence in front of them?
Why learn psychiatry if nobody cares? You could get a computer to write prescriptions faster and more legibly.
The inertia is as cloying as clear gelatin. Perhaps this is the egg; the yolk, the planet, the albumin the atmosphere, with humans poised at the interface, possibly growing and possibly getting big enough to crack the shell.