Saturday, January 7, 2012

Pills...

"When at last we are sure, You've been properly pilled, Then a few paper forms, Must be properly filled. So that you and your heirs, May be properly billed."
- Dr. Seuss

A couple of years ago, in a late night haze, I stumbled upon a commercial for RLS, also known as Restless Leg Syndrome. I watched and wondered, "Is this why I'm awake"?, is the natural impulse for my legs to dance and shake in the night my problem? "RLS, you devil", I thought. Then the commercial ended, and I realized I'd just watched a 2 minute, paid-for advertisement, selling me a disease. With nothing else. I was baffled and skeptical, and then put it out of my head.

Until about 6 months later another commercial appeared in the night. This time, selling the miracle cure for this plague, RLS, that has consumed so many peoples lives for so long. Astonishing I thought, they sold the disease before the cure. Not only did they market an illness prior to the cure. They did it so apparently, that one semi-conscious insomniac got wise to it. These companies either think people are really dumb, or...people are really dumb.

It's no wonder that after some research I found out that prescriptions in the US have gone up to 3.4 billion dollars annually, a 61% increase from a decade ago. This industry is a beast, to the point that medicating people is written into the education of a doctor.

Someone brought it up to me the other day how common it is to see drugs prescribed for something different than what they were initially intended. Again feeding my feeling that the last 20-30 years of people, Americans specifically, have been guinea pigs for the drugs and companies that produce them. Who the fuck knows what this stuff does to us.

I've seen it with half a dozen people I know. It starts with one illness treated with medication. Which causes something that is treated with another pill. Then that one, now highlighted with the mixture of two, causes something else. Treated with what? Another pill, and so on and so on.

I don't want to sound like one of those pinko, YouTube nut jobs, who thinks every guys Imovie is as credible as the encyclopedia. But it does feel like some kind of dubious mind control, and with the type of influence and power the companies who produce the drugs make, I certainly wouldn't be surprised if hands were in pockets down the line to government, mostly on the lobbying side. Especially with $289 billion dollars in annual sales to the pharmaceutical market in the US alone.

Maybe it's good for the powerful few for us normal people to be sedated. Having people fixated about cholesterol numbers and getting a full 12 hours of uninterrupted sleep a night. Keep that serotonin pumping and the lemmings will continue to spin the wheel.

Maybe people have good reason to sweat and wake up in the middle of the night.
Maybe people are on the edge of anxiety filled breakdowns because of the world they live in, not the struggle inside their head. This makes me think of something my brother told me recently. He said, "there are a thousand definitions for mental illness, but not one concrete definition for mental health." We're treating "problems" with undiscovered solutions.

I know I'm paranoid, but this makes me nervous...


**My "info" from this is from Wikipedia...so who the fuck knows if it's true.**

9 comments:

  1. This made me think of a classic Seinfeld bit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ATwm00jrdW0&feature=fvwrel at 14:17- how the drug companies see us.

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  2. Haha, I think you're on the right track, Benny. There are a lot of dumb people out there and these pill-pushing infomercial companies know it. I think it's perfectly normal for people to be a little screwed up, unable to sleep, and slightly paranoid of the world around them. Just look at what we're exposed to (insert eye roll).

    Your brother sounds like a smart guy. The "experts" have plenty to say about what's wrong with people, but very few ways to really help them get better, instead of just medicating their symptoms. It's pretty sad, really.

    Great post as always, and I'm kind of glad to see that I'm not the only one who is a little disturbed by the RLS commercials in the middle of the night. ;)

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  3. CARL C FROM FLEMINGTON NJJanuary 9, 2012 at 10:48 PM

    your not alone Mr Benny. im a total night bird. Always seem to accomplish and learn about this crazy world late at night. Maybe because i know im not missing anything cause everyone else is sleeping?? i even started my own business years ago just to keep my insomniac life style. Well at least i think im much more informed and not ignorant about alot of topics. Plus i can watch reruns of my Nets too, even if they continue to lose CARL FROM FLEMINGTON

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  4. More and more "diseases" are made up every day for the companies' gain, but people are indeed very dumb and ask their doctor to prescribe them every single pill that there is to "ease" every day life. The doctors forget, of course, to mention that you may get addicted and once you do, it's hard to stop.

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  5. I know it's terrible, but the Abilify commercial that has depression as a blue fuzzy-bathrobe/muppet-esque character always tickles me!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oGQcibFC9q0

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  6. It's frightening how many drug companies are following this path. Look at http://bostonreview.net/BR35.3/fugh-berman.php

    What's even scarier is how they are funding medical research to justify their marketing decisions. It's not about curing disease anymore, it's about finding ways to sell or re-sell drugs. The pharma companies are worse than the worst street pusher in Newark...

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  7. I can tell you what happens when a Dr sells you a disease and a off label use of a drug. Now, 14 months later, and dealing with withdrawal from absolute Hell from a horrid monster drug that I never needed, I slowly reclaim my life and heal. You're so right Benny. BTW, GA helped me along the way and out of some very dark days when I was in the thick of this "medication mistake." Be loud with your opinion. You never know who you may have helped save.

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  8. Hey Benny,

    I'm a doc from The Jerz, though I work abroad at the moment (I practice sports and performing arts medicine), and I can tell you that you are not imagining things. Drug reps have tried to tell me that between 30-50% of my patients suffer from RLS. The meds they try to push have terrible side effects. Many were initially developed to treat things like epilepsy.

    Some things require aggressive treatment (diabetes or heart disease). Some things are just driven by drug companies with meds in search of something to treat. You gotta be careful. Step one: Anytime you see a drug ad, change the channel or hit mute.

    Love the new album, by the way.

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