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Medicalizing " Disease " For Fun And Profit

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Medicalizing " Disease " For Fun And Profit

According to a set of essays published in the Public Library of Science Medicine, drug companies are systematically inventing non-existent diseases, or exaggerating minor ones, in order to sell more of their products.
The practice turns healthy people into patients, and places many of them at risk of medically induced harm.
Minor, normal problems, such as the symptoms of menopause, have been "medicalized" into treatable illnesses, and risk factors like high cholesterol are being treated as diseases in their own right. Conditions including female sexual dysfunction, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and "restless legs syndrome" have all been exaggerated and promoted by companies hoping to sell drugs.
Even ordinary shyness is often defined by drug companies as a social anxiety disorder to be treated with antidepressants.
Richard Ley, of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, pointed out that some countries, including Britain, have legal safeguards against drug industry "disease mongering." Most of the criticisms, he argued, apply primarily to countries like the United States, where drugs can be advertised directly to patients.
Public Library of Science Medicine April 11, 2006; 3(4)
Times Online April 11, 2006
Psychiatry is the worst offender, in my opinion. Roy

A life-long friend challenged me about my comments regarding the role of psychiatry in medicalizing diseases.: wrote:
I think I knew that! We've got enough 'real' diseases to contend with in this life, right? But why do you comment that psychiatry is the worst offender....your previous bread-and-butter of sorts, no less?

My response follows :

Dear Gail,
Please! I am a psychologist... NOT a PSYCHIATRIST!! In fact, I despise psychiatry. My experience was psychiatrists were often incredibly poor physicians..borne out by the fact Psychiatry attracts the absolutely worst medical students, In fact , the old saw that a psychiatrist is a "Former med student who could never learn to tolerate the sight of blood " is fairly accurate. However the situation is even worse now as psychiatry has been nearly abandoned by native-born Americans and is now filled with foreign trained doctors; many of whom barely speak English...I kid you not.
Psychiatry has always grossly over-relied upon drugs, over-prescribed them in both quantity and quality. Psychoactive drugs claim the most addiction complications of any substances excepting nicotine in America and has owned that distinction since the 1960s. Valium,Ritalin,Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, etc.are incredibly dangerous and are being prescibed by the millions willy-nilly by idiots otherwise called physicians all over this country every day. I strongly encourage your Yahooing and/or Googling the wonderful Evelyn Pringle's perceptive articles concerning these issues; many of which are found at Roy
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I'm a 65 year-old disabled/retired psychotherapist who is a proud activist liberal despite my having lived in Pine Bluff,Arkansas amidst extreme conservatives all my life. I was a single father to a now 38-year-old Califonia Energy Policy Analyst (more...)
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