Sunday, January 28, 2007

Question Of The Week, 1/28/07

Good morning. I came home from work last night with an idea for this weeks question. I was going to check on a couple of things and then get to work on getting it posted. I made it to the on-line version of my local paper. I found what I thought was a very interesting article, and it ask a question.

From the St. Joseph News-Press

Are we becoming a drugged society?

Alonzo Weston

She came from a family with a history of long, wholesome living. A constitutionally strong woman with a good career, a good marriage and a good life. But good wasn't good enough.

"One bright, spring day this 42-year-old wife and mother of a 12-year-old daughter put her head down and died," Jeff Davidson remembered about his college friend's wife.

His friend's wife also was a woman who took a pill whenever she experienced any type of stress or anxiety. A woman who ended up dying with a handful of pills, hoping to make the good life even better.

Mr. Davidson, a North Carolina author and management lecturer, said he sees our society becoming just as dependent on drugs to alter our moods and make us feel better.

There is a free-floating sense that many of us have become the "worried well," as "Listening to Prozac" author Peter Kramer dubbed antidepressant users in the early 1990s.

We put our kids on Ritalin. We put on minds on cruise control with Prozac. There is a fear we're comfortably numb and not really our true selves.

Are we becoming a drugged society?

"I wish it weren't true, but the rate at which people turn to 'medication' as some type of temporary or long-term antidote for the stresses of living and working in contemporary society is alarming," Mr. Davidson said.

Local mental-health professionals also expressed concern over the growing number of youths and adults on behavioral medications. They say in some cases, the drugs are truly needed to cope with certain mental illnesses, like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. But more and more medicines are being prescribed to help persons merely cope with the stresses of an ever-changing world.

And those stresses can be triggered by anything from a lack of sunshine, to a lack of sleep, to lawn chemicals, to the drugs we took in our youth, to trying to keep up with the Joneses, said Dr. Shirley Taylor, a licensed psychologist with Heartland Health Counseling Services.

"It's lifestyle as much as anything," she said. "Other countries aren't using as many drugs as we are and I guess I don't necessarily believe if we are on drugs we are not us. Or, if that's true, I'm still very happy that many people do take medication because it makes them more able to live a normal life."

She added that the increase in use of behavioral drugs may be due to medical professionals being more adept at diagnosing mental illness and emotional disorders. "We did not correctly identify people who could have been helped with medications in the past, and so they fell through the cracks somehow," Dr. Taylor said.

Eileen Duty said that when she became a St. Joseph School District nurse 24 years ago, schools hardly, if ever, gave medicine to students. But today, some kids are given medicine twice a day and some not just for health problems - such as asthma - but for behavioral problems.

Ritalin has been prescribed for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. But in the past five years, Mrs. Duty has seen an increase in mood-altering medicines like Prozac being prescribed for students.

"Somebody might say to me, 'Do you think that is wrong?' What I would say is we're hoping this would be considered best practice or best treatment for this child's identified problem so that they can learn in school and they can get along with other kids," she said.

The St. Joseph School District is concerned about the long-term effects of these medications, she said.

"Some of the medicines that the kids are taking have not been tested on children for the long term and it is worrisome," she said. "We worry about it, the school nurses worry about the number of kids that are on medicines and the long-term effects."

Dr. Emad Khan, board certified adult and child psychiatrist with Northwest Health Services, said he asks several questions of his patients before prescribing behavior drugs. He said that many times, behavioral problems have to do more with environment than with a medical condition. And many times that environmental condition can be traced to the womb.

"If during pregnancy that mom took marijuana, smoked, drank, suffered stress, then that kid is going to have concentration problems, poor coping skills and poor impulse control because alcohol and marijuana can cause fetal alcohol syndrome," he said. "Any stress during pregnancy, or if you smoked during that time, the blood supply to the placenta is less than with a mom who is relaxed."

Dr. Khan said the fast pace of today's world is another factor. Not only does the urgency cause stress for parents, but for their children as well. And they are stressors that we didn't experience 50 years ago.

"For whatever reason, the fabric of our society, the world in general has become such a competitive place," he said. "Your parents or grandparents were not exposed to so much stress, so much competition."

Dr. Khan said before he prescribes any behavior medication, he suggests relaxation techniques and other remedies. And in most cases, he never prescribes medicine without therapy. "If you are a good, trained psychiatrist you would always think of other ways to treat these problems before resorting to medication," he said. "That's what I do, especially in child psychiatry."

It's like I was meant to use this article for this weeks question, that's why it was published on a Sunday morning. This weeks Question Of The Week is. Are we becoming a drugged society? I'll post my answer in the Comment Section Monday morning.

Thanks go to:

The St. Joseph News-Press

God Bless America, God Save The Republic


Blogger sushil yadav said...

The link between Mind and Social / Environmental-Issues.

The fast-paced, consumerist lifestyle of Industrial Society is causing exponential rise in psychological problems besides destroying the environment. All issues are interlinked. Our Minds cannot be peaceful when attention-spans are down to nanoseconds, microseconds and milliseconds. Our Minds cannot be peaceful if we destroy Nature.

Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment.

Subject : In a fast society slow emotions become extinct.
Subject : A thinking mind cannot feel.
Subject : Scientific/ Industrial/ Financial thinking destroys the planet.

Emotion is what we experience during gaps in our thinking.

If there are no gaps there is no emotion.

Today people are thinking all the time and are mistaking thought (words/ language) for emotion.

When society switches-over from physical work (agriculture) to mental work (scientific/ industrial/ financial/ fast visuals/ fast words ) the speed of thinking keeps on accelerating and the gaps between thinking go on decreasing.

There comes a time when there are almost no gaps.

People become incapable of experiencing/ tolerating gaps.

Emotion ends.

Man becomes machine.

A society that speeds up mentally experiences every mental slowing-down as Depression / Anxiety.

A ( travelling )society that speeds up physically experiences every physical slowing-down as Depression / Anxiety.

A society that entertains itself daily experiences every non-entertaining moment as Depression / Anxiety.





To read the complete article please follow either of these links :




4:03 AM  
Blogger Praguetwin said...

Quite simply, yes.

With wealth comes the mistaken perception that one should be happy all the time. If something is missing in your life, you should be able to buy this or that to fill the gap.

I believe that perception has spilled over into the emotional side of life. If you aren't happy, just buy a persciption to an anti-depresant and "Viola!" everything is fine.

The hypocricy of perscibing drugs to fight depresion on one hand while jailing people for self medicating on the other is only matched by this statement from the article.

.....and marijuana can cause fetal alcohol syndrome

Wow, who knew that marijuana can cause fetal alcohol syndrome? I wonder how many other drugs can do that?

Typical American hypocricy. They really do it the best.

7:34 AM  
Blogger Aimee Schantz said...

I sit in the middle. I do think that drugs have their place, but we as a society overuse them at an alarming rate.

11:51 AM  
Blogger Always On Watch Two said...

Are we becoming a drugged society?


Certainly there is proper use of medication. For example, medications prolonged my mother's life; she suffered from heart problems and from kidney disease. Without the proper medications, she'd have died by the time she was 45. Thanks to medications, she lived to be nearly 72 years of age.

Today we see some young people asking for smart pills. No kidding! Some time ago, I posted on that very topic.

Many of the medications prescribed for certain undiagnosable conditions have long term effects which are not yet known. That fact bears remembering.

Final comment from me....Pills don't solve problems. They should be prescribed to treat medical conditions which have been verified--not to make parenting and life easier.

5:48 PM  
Blogger American Crusader said...

Without doubt. Prescription medicines, OTC medicines, and even vitamin companies and herbal remedies are made for every possible complaint or pain (real or imaginary).
Pharmaceutical giants or working every day (and I mean 24 hours per day) to develop new medicines and cures for every ailment possible.

11:46 AM  
Blogger small town girl said...

I just wrote a post on this on my blog

This is a huge issue!!

Thanks for your attention to this!

1:19 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

Some parents like to have their kids medicated because they want them to be docile. They don't want to have to do the work of parenting, setting limits and enforcing rules. They'd rather have children who just sit quietly and stare into space.

2:56 PM  
Blogger David Schantz said...

First I want to thank everyone for stopping by, I'm late, my computer went down for a scheduled scan. I want to offer a special welcome to a first time visitor, Aimee Schantz. I know I didn't do that for everyone but I'm rather proud of my Daughter. Aimee is a Veterinary Assistant/Dog Trainer. I know some of you are pet owners or are owned by pets. She has an interesting site,( if you have any questions about animal health or behavioral problems maybe she can help you. If your interested in getting a pet maybe she can suggest what would be right for you.

OK, this weeks question,"Are we becoming a drugged society?" Right off the top of my head I can think of seven friends or family members (young and old) that are taking antidepressants, (legally) there could be more that I don't know about. Maybe some of them really need them, I can't believe they all do. I've heard one of them say (many times)they are her "everythings alright pills." I'm going to have to say YES!, we are becoming a druged society. I'll go a little farther. Some of us (Me) feel our government would like to gain complete control of the population. So if I'm right about this would an "everythings alright pill" be a wonderful weapon for them to have? In some ways government has become the parent, or would like to be. Elizabeth makes a couple of good points if you think along these lines,"Some parents like to have their kids medicated because they want them to be docile." and, "They'd rather have children who just sit quietly and stare into space." They'd like for you to give up your rights and let mommy and daddy government take care of you.

God Bless America, God Save The Republic.

2:46 AM  
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2:00 AM  
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11:25 PM  

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