A problem I have very little experience dealing with.  Maybe it’s my attitude in life, maybe my brain chemicals are well balanced, maybe I’ve been really lucky, it remains something I don’t understand and thus find difficult to sympathize with.  This week in the news there was a big push across multiple media sources highlighting depression.  Being about to “see” a depressed brain vs a normal one in a MRI was one example.  Most of the reports focus on targeting depression screening for women during pregnancy and after.

Keep in mind 20% of Americans suffer from depression and anxiety disorders.  Roughly 1/3 of them are receiving treatment, medication.  So 6% of our population is going though life in a drug induced haze.  This can not be good for society as a whole.  I’m certain there are people that suffer a lot from depression, and they carefully weigh the side effects of the drugs with their un-medicated state.  But I believe all too often doctors, under the influence of PHARMA and drug providers, are prescribing these drugs to people that don’t require medication, and bring more harm to them than good.  It has been no secret that drug producers are taking aim at younger and younger people; they do this via the parents, teacher recommendations, and TV ads.  A tactic no better than the days of child targeted ads from the cigarette companies.

It should be obvious that messing with brain chemistry of a young developing person is not a good thing.  The effect of SSRI’s has been linked to higher incidences of violent crime as well.

One would expect the drug companies to eventually burn themselves out.  After you medicate everyone with a condition what else could you possible do?  It would be a shame to lose one of your most profitable industries because the customer base stopped growing.  Well, we are watching PHARMA take a page out of the bankers book in the mortgage crisis.  What do you do when everyone that can afford a home has a home, and you can’t grow your mortgage department?  Well obviously you start giving people that can’t afford homes access to homes they can’t afford, and shouldn’t be in.

So we are witnessing the drug companies (with the help of lobbyists, doctors, and fraudulent government regulators) rewrite the definitions of mental disorder.  Anxious?  Disorder.  Phobia? Disorder.  OCD? Disorder.  Social Anxiety? Disorder.  Depression? Disorder.  Panic? Disorder.

I know there are people that legitimately suffer from these problems, and of course they should get treatment.  However what has happened is that me: a person who sometimes goes and checks twice to make sure he locked his bike (OCD) and who is a little anxious around people (Social Anxiety) who has a fear of spiders (Phobia) is placed somewhere on the rating scale of mental disorder.  And once you’ve been placed on that scale doctors are going to recommend treatment.

Take a look at some of these tests and you’ll be blown away.  This is a test MADE BY PFZER, a giant drug company, for screening depression.  This is obviously a problem.  This is the same as going to a used car dealership and asking the dealer if you should buy a car.  The survey starts, “Over the last 2 weeks, how often have you been bothered by any of the following problems?”

5. Poor appetite or overeating? [I guess every overweight person is somewhere on this scale, 2/3 of Americans are overweight]

3. Trouble falling or staying asleep, or sleeping too much? [Alright Goldilocks…trouble sleeping, or sleeping too well, both are problems]

7. Trouble concentrating on things, such as reading the newspaper or watching television? [Who doesn’t have trouble concentrating in our 24/7 always online world where our smart phone bombs with messages constantly?]

All the questions have the same weighted value so this question below, which is very reasonable for a depression test, has the same value as trouble falling asleep.

9. Thoughts that you would be better off dead, or of hurting yourself

I played with this test for awhile, if you answer questions that indicate you are depressed you get this…

“Severe Depression: These results do not mean that you have depression, but it may be time to start a conversation with your doctor. Finding the right treatment plan and working with your doctor, healthcare provider or a support person can help you feel more like you again.”

They are eager to recommend you see a doctor and find a treatment plan to “make you feel like you again.” instilling a feeling of inadequacy.  Not such bad advice but I don’t like the marketing language at the end.  The most offensive part of the test was when I answered all of the questions that I don’t have any of the symptoms, here’s the response.

“Minimal Depression: If you notice that your symptoms aren’t improving, you may want to bring them up with your doctor or someone who is supporting you.”

Not “I have no depression”, but that I have it and it is “minimal”, I apparently have symptoms and they should improve or else I should see a doctor.  Absolutely abhorrent.

The reason I bring these things up about mental health is because it was always a back burner issue.  Sure we have a lot of Americans with mental disorders, and yes the medication rates are skyrocketing along with drugs prices, but it never had a impact on our freedom and rights.  Obama’s new executive gun laws will request that doctors break HIPPA codes to report on patients with mental disorders to the Federal authorities, which according to Pfzer is everyone.  This is a restriction of a Constitutional protected right which violates due process, 2nd and 7th amendments.  This is the “no-fly” list all over again.

Government sponsored secret lists have no place in a free and open society.

That was an aside, the reason I write a post today is because I heard of yet another, Executive Task Force, that made a recommendation that all mothers get depression screening before and after pregnancy.  It’s a good idea in theory, but in practice who writes these test?  Pfzer?  Government regulators that worked at Pzfer before?  Nameless back room lobbyists?  Doctors that get wined and dinned by PHARMA?  We should absolutely be aware and vigilant of the problems that come with pregnancy related stress and depression, but we must also be cautious of people that want to diagnose and medicate these young mothers that are simply at a difficult time in their life.

We live a ridiculous lifestyle crunched into buildings, packed into cubicles, getting no sunlight, no fresh air, eating junk made in factories, and drinking lead filled city water.  It’s no wonder we are sick.  But instead of trying to medicate our way out of everything, how about we encourage and create a healthy society?