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Thread: Le malade imaginaire (the imaginary sick person)

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    wanted-$$1 reward Legato's Avatar
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    Le malade imaginaire (the imaginary sick person)

    A while ago my older brother decided that he had ADD (attention deficit disorder) and bought a few books about it. When he explained what it was I could only laugh, how could such a thing exists? Well, later I read a part of one of his books and found a description word for word of him, then he went to see a doctor who prescribed some drugs...
    All this happened in France where such illness are unheard of (they start talking about it now) so I was skeptical but then i started investigating my situation, which I thought was agoraphobia only to find something else called social anxiety and again I found a description word for word but this time of my self.
    So here is my point, lately (last decade or so) there seem to be a multiplication of mental illnesses. Why? Is it because we have a better understanding of humans? Or because we want to make an excuse to make more money taking advantage of people's weaknesses? The fact that these illnesses seem to appear first in the US and that everyone seem to have some kind of problem really makes me skeptical, is it that the US is the most mentally unhealthy place to live in (wouldn't be a surprise)?
    What do you think? I don't know much about all this, and I'm still trying to decide whether I should take it seriously or not. Anybody has had some experience of that kind or has some knowledge?
    "It is far, far better and much safer to have a firm anchor in nonsense than to put out on the troubled seas of thought." J.K. Galbraith

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    free spirit lineartube's Avatar
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    Our ancestors were genius! They could only have been thought by von D舅iken's Gods!
    Who else could imagine using such cheap alternatives to rytalin&co like shouting , spanking or actually explaining what is right or wrong to kids?!?!
    I'm not a parent but I think that hell would have to freeze over before I would start cloughing up my kids with chemicals just because...they were acting like kids!!
    Ln.

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    Where I'm Supposed to Be kirei_na_me's Avatar
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    lineartube, I agree with you 100%! There is no way in hell I would give my children drugs unless they absolutely needed it. I think pumping small children with chemicals is not very healthy, to say the least.
    You have bewitched me, body and soul...

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    カメハメ波! Glenn's Avatar
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    It is my belief that since psychology and psychiatry are young sciences, they are still working out the bugs. Certainly there have been a lot of whacky treatments over the years, when what was really needed was probably just an analysis of the cognitive process. Really, the reason that we feel things is because we interpret things a certain way, and then tell ourselves something about it. What we tell ourselves in turn produces emotions. Understanding this process in ourselves will help us to be emotionally healthier.

    Now the question arises, can everyone understand this? Could it be that some people just don't have the capacity to understand what goes on in their heads, and this leads them to be unhappy? Or perhaps is it just that they haven't been shown how to analyze their thoughts and they just don't know any better? I have no idea, but I would imagine it's the latter.

    Onto your question, the use of medication for behavioral disorders has been proven to be effective in some cases. I can say with a fair amount of confidence that researchers have looked into how chemicals in the brain react with one another and how this affects behaviors and thoughts, and have used this information to come up with some controlling mechanism. Does ADD exist? I believe so. However, I also believe that there are likely many instances in which people are wrongly diagnosed as ADD. Since many behaviors associated with ADD are also associated with healthy children, I would say that there are a lot of healthy children who are on ADD medication. What seems to be the problem is the lack of an objective system of diagnosis, which seems to be the case for a lot of psychiatry. If you go to the doctor with the flu, he will look at the micro-organisms in your body by taking blood samples, check your body for signs of infection in other ways, and make a diagnosis. Psychiatry doesn't have this. There is no blood test that says, "you have depression" or "you have ADD," at least not that I'm aware of. And even if there is one, I highly doubt that it is in common use. Like I said, it's a young science, and the bugs are still getting worked out.

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    wanted-$$1 reward Legato's Avatar
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    Thanks for the feed back everyone, however, to Lineartube and Kirei_na_me, what if the person is not a child but a grown up (my brother was 23 at the time and in the last two years he improved a lot). In any case I agree with you about feeding drugs to kids who are perfectly healthy, maybe too healthy for their parents to handle, but that's another problem. (there is a south park episode about ADD which conveys this idea, well in the SP way)

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    Regular House Cat michi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Legato
    is it that the US is the most mentally unhealthy place to live in (wouldn't be a surprise)?
    i've read that people who live Hungaria are the most mentally unstable. highest suicide rate, among other things.

    gloomy nation

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    I've always thought ADD was an excuse for not paying attention in class.

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    You might find these articles to be of interest:

    Doping Kids

    As pharmaceutical companies push their products, more and more kids are being treated with powerful -- and untested -- adult drugs.

    http://www.motherjones.com/news/outf...ma_503_01.html


    Disorders Made to Order

    Pharmaceutical companies have come up with a new strategy to market their drugs: First go out and find a new mental illness, then push the pills to cure it.

    http://www.motherjones.com/news/feat...disorders.html


    Selling the Cure for Shopaholism

    Compulsive shopping disorder is real, pharmaceutical companies insist -- and they want to sell you a cure.

    http://www.motherjones.com/news/feat...hopaholic.html



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    wanted-$$1 reward Legato's Avatar
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    @Satori: That's exactly why I'm skeptic when it comes to health in the US, here the custom is not to produce when there is a need but to create the need and then worry about production. This is all the more true in the pharmaceutical market where it's easy to point at a common behavior and say: here, here take a pill and you'll be fine! Good examples...

    However I would like to move away from that drug business which is obviously abusive, so what about disorders for which there are no drugs? For example social anxiety, which I'm supposedely suffering for, there are no drugs, no treatments, the only solution seems to be to see a psychologist, in that case is it the same kind of abuse that we see with drugs except that you are directed toward a psychologist? Isn't such a disorder something that has always existed among societies and will always exists? I guess my point here is to see whethere we move toward the kind of world described in "Brave New World" where everyone takes drugs to feel good or are we justified in our approach of these new discoveries of the human behavior?

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    カメハメ波! Glenn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Legato
    @Satori: That's exactly why I'm skeptic when it comes to health in the US, here the custom is not to produce when there is a need but to create the need and then worry about production. This is all the more true in the pharmaceutical market where it's easy to point at a common behavior and say: here, here take a pill and you'll be fine! Good examples...
    Of course, there are plenty of ads for erectile dysfunction on television, but that doesn't mean that erectile dysfuntion isn't a real problem. I agree that the advertisers try to make it seem like anyone who has any problems should take the medicine, but that's their job (sort of). For what it's worth, I don't agree with the advertisers.

    Quote Originally Posted by Legato
    However I would like to move away from that drug business which is obviously abusive, so what about disorders for which there are no drugs? For example social anxiety, which I'm supposedely suffering for, there are no drugs, no treatments, the only solution seems to be to see a psychologist, in that case is it the same kind of abuse that we see with drugs except that you are directed toward a psychologist? Isn't such a disorder something that has always existed among societies and will always exists? I guess my point here is to see whethere we move toward the kind of world described in "Brave New World" where everyone takes drugs to feel good or are we justified in our approach of these new discoveries of the human behavior?
    There are drugs for social anxiety. Haven't you ever seen ads for Paxil?

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    wanted-$$1 reward Legato's Avatar
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    No I've never seen ads for Paxil but I've heard about it, maybe it does make things better by making you less conscious of your problem but I don't believe it solves anything

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    Where I'm Supposed to Be kirei_na_me's Avatar
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    I was diagnosed with general anxiety disorder about 4 or 5 years ago, and none of those antidepressants helped me. Paxil made me feel like my head was going to explode.

    My anxiety got better on its own, really. To me, medication just complicated things. Once you start taking something like Paxil, you have to be extremely careful if ever you want to stop. You have to wean yourself off it, because you can really go crazy if you suddenly stop taking it. I just didn't want to deal with that, so I went the unmedicated route by myself. Eventually, things got much better. I am so much better now than I was 2 years ago. I take my bottle of Ativan with me almost everywhere I go, but that's just for insurance. I haven't actually taken one in about a year.

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    @Legato:

    If you are interested in the history of mental illness (in the West, from the middle ages up to Freud), in terms of the greater social factors that influence how the needs of the mentally ill are adressed, I would recomend Michel Foucault's "Madness and Civilization" (available, and probably a better read, in French). Foucault touches on a few of the questions you have raised. But it's certainly not a light read; probably not worth the effort unless you have considerable interest.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Legato
    @Satori: That's exactly why I'm skeptic when it comes to health in the US, here the custom is not to produce when there is a need but to create the need and then worry about production. This is all the more true in the pharmaceutical market where it's easy to point at a common behavior and say: here, here take a pill and you'll be fine! Good examples...

    However I would like to move away from that drug business which is obviously abusive, so what about disorders for which there are no drugs? For example social anxiety, which I'm supposedely suffering for, there are no drugs, no treatments, the only solution seems to be to see a psychologist, in that case is it the same kind of abuse that we see with drugs except that you are directed toward a psychologist? Isn't such a disorder something that has always existed among societies and will always exists? I guess my point here is to see whethere we move toward the kind of world described in "Brave New World" where everyone takes drugs to feel good or are we justified in our approach of these new discoveries of the human behavior?
    I think there are some diseases and phobias that may need medication--at least, temporarily if the symptoms are too severe while exploring the cause. However, not all diseases and phobias need to be medicated. In fact, in my opinion most do not. I am a strong believer in cause-and-effect. Once you recognize the effects, you need to search for and eliminate the cause. Unfortunately, most meds basically provide a band-aid effect, which doesn't solve the underlying problem. Also, some diseases are misdiagnosed quite often. For example, bipolar cases (formerly referred to as manic-depressive) are often undiagnosed thyroid problems. In my opinion, these days too many therapists are inclined to prescribe medication for problems that could otherwise be treated by self-examination through therapy or one's own efforts.

    As far as social anxiety is concerned, I suppose I fit that category with respect to public speaking and stage fright. However, I've spent years working on this issue, so most of it would no longer apply (such as speaking up in large groups), but I would have to say that it is still an ongoing problem for me in terms of getting up in front of people on a stage or on T.V. The trick is to find the source of these fears. They usually stem from negative childhood experiences, such as intense judgment, criticism, etc. that you may have received as a child. For me, I grew up in an entire household that judged and criticized, so in order to survive as a child, I denied the fact that my family wasn't a loving and supportive family and convinced myself that the rest of the world was judgmental and critical. Denial is a powerful survival tool when the truth is too painful to face. Eventually, you reach a point where denial no longer works and the truth is the only thing that can set you free.

    And I believe most people are at that point when they begin to recognize that something is wrong in their lives, such as irrational fears like society anxiety, etc. Once I faced the truth that my family members were the ones who were judgmental and critical of me (and each other, really) and not the rest of the world, I no longer feared the intense judgment and criticism from the public at large, which I believe is the main cause of stage fright and other fears like it. In fact, there's a whole world out there that is open to loving and approving of you if you open yourself up to it. But you have to learn to love and support yourself first by learning not to judge and criticize yourself, so that you will no longer attract judgment and criticism from others and, instead, attract love and support. Also, it's important to recognize that when you are afraid of what other people are thinking about you, you are giving your power away to them and to the situation to determine your worth. The question to ask yourself is: Why is their opinion more important than your own? Answering that question will help you take your power back and internalize that it's really what you think that matters and not what others think. Easier said than done, I know, but that is the goal. It takes a lot of work and tremendous courage to work through such deeply held fears, but it's the only way to get past it.

    With respect to your questions about possible solutions to social anxiety, I don't know if you have read the information on this site:

    What is social anxiety?

    http://www.socialphobia.org/whatis.html#whatis1

    According to the above site, any type of psychotherapy for social anxiety would be very short-term. The only time I have heard of someone who might not be a good candidate for therapy would be with respect to those who do not show any aptitude for self-reflection and introspection. Those are the most difficult patients. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if those types of patients would opt for drugs to mask their problems so that they wouldn't have to face their issues. Of course, that would never solve their problems.

    Kirei is correct about the dangers of Paxil. From what I have read, it is apparently a very dangerous drug. It's shocking how dangerous these drugs can be and yet how freely they are distributed to patients in this country, as well as around the world. Here are a couple of links to some rather interesting articles on both Prozac and Paxil:

    Prozac, Suicide and Dr. Healy:

    http://www.counterpunch.org/prozacsuicide.html

    Dr. David Dunner:
    Paxil's Friendly Ghostwriter?

    http://www.counterpunch.org/giombettipaxil.html

    These pharmaceutical companies are giants that are out of control, IMO. I remember seeing the list of companies that back Partnership for a Drug-Free America, and almost all of the supporters were pharmaceutical companies. They want to keep illegal drugs, such as marijuana, illegal and out of the hands of Americans, so that people will be forced to buy their drugs where a prescription is necessary instead. And they are making a fortune off of that arrangement! Yet as many researchers have discovered, marijuana is not only beneficial in treating the effects of glaucoma, cancer, AIDS, etc., but also some mental disorders such as depression and bipolar disease. Unfortunately, the pharmaceutical companies are doing all they can to prevent the use of natural drugs in favor of forcing their particular drugs, with their terrible side-effects, on an unsuspecting public. That is not to say that pharmaceutical companies don't provide very good and effect medications either. But my objection is to their abuse in the particular area we are discussing here in this thread--creating drugs for problems that don't need to be medicated.


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    カメハメ波! Glenn's Avatar
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    I think that the medications are tools to ease the suffering so that you can begin to function seperate from overwhelming feelings. Paxil is supposed to reduce anxiety so that you can think more clearly. Once you have gotten into a habit of being more logical and emotionally detached, you can get off of the medicine and perform just as well as you did on it. That's the theory, anyway. I'm sure no one thinks that it's a panacea for social problems. You're right that it doesn't solve anything, but it isn't supposed to. You're supposed to solve things. It's just supposed to help.

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