The ongoing scare over the warning label being placed on stimulants is starting to bother me.
My problem with this drama first started a week or so ago, when the headlines all played various themes of, "Ritalin and similar drugs...." As I have said before, I have a problem with the extent to which the powers that be have convinced us to willingly except their terminology for drugs – from the classifications (“medicine,” “drug,” “drink,” on one level, “stimulant” and “depressant” on another level) right down to the actual names of the drugs – we repeat, with a straight face, names from “Paxil” to “Adderall” to “Acid” to “Crank” without ever really considering how biased this naming system is.
When the news media repeats this jargon, it compounds the problem. When it occurs in headlines (and not just a few of them – hundreds in one day), it becomes truth in too many minds.
Now we see an interesting juxtaposition. For so long, speedy drugs like amphetamine and methylphenidate have been billed as “medicine” for the treatment of “attention deficit disorder,” an affliction I’m quite sure I could have been diagnosed with as a child and probably even now if I wanted even easier access to these drugs than the market on a college campus already affords. Suddenly, when people report having side effects which are very typical of these kinds of drugs, a stark reminder is cast that yes, indeed, these are drugs.
"Every single adult patient I saw today, the first thing out of their mouth was, 'Am I going to drop dead on this?' Every single one of them," said Dr. Timothy Wilens, a psychiatrist at
in Massachusetts General Hospital . Boston
We have come to blindly trust the “established” medical regime so much that we forget our own experiences (personal or otherwise) with drugs. We have come to accept the schema of “disorders” to such a degree that we have forgotten the infinitely fine scale of human thought and the chemistry with which it corresponds.
Of course, it goes without saying that these drugs do help some people with concentration problems, just as SSRIs help some people with chronic depression. They may not be addressing the most fundamental cause, but their effects are obviously helpful for a segment, albeit small, of the population suffering from these problems.
Personally, I don’t really care much about whether or not these drugs have one warning or another on the side of them – I don’t think it will make people think any more critically about their role in society and the disorders which are invented to market and sell them.
Perhaps a more appropriate warning would read, “Caution: The disorder, malady, disease, ailment, sickness, bug, infection, syndrome, or condition for which this drug has been prescribed may not actually exist.”