Saturday, December 15, 2012

On our Society, ... an Opinion

Today 20 children and eight adults are dead in another senseless act.  Once again a sick man has chosen to take the lives of innocents as he commits suicide.  There will be many who will use this as a time to call for the elimination of guns from American society, and there will be just as many who rush to argue for the opposite.  We’ve become a society of polar opposites where compromise and rational problem solving is no longer possible.
What will be lost in these posturing’s will be any real discussion on what are the basic causes of this insanity that seems to be growing in our society and what we as individuals, local governments, and state governments and the federal government might be able to do to address the root causes.  I saw an interesting posting from a nurse on Facebook.  It coincided with something I’ve been thinking about for some time, and I guess it is as good a time as any to voice it.
In the 1960’s, New York State had a large number of psychiatric hospitals holding tens of thousands of patients with a large variety of diagnosis, ranging from childhood autism up to geriatric dementia and criminal insanity.  From my most limited experiences working at one of those institutions it was obvious to me this hospital was really a large holding institution where the doctors prescribed Thorazine to keep many of those residents in a stupor so they were easy to maintain.
Since then, medial science and the social sciences have progressed and become enlightened.  You can say what you will about the patients civil rights, but the State closed most of those institutions for financial reasons when the costs became overwhelming.  Fortunately for New York, the drug companies have developed a whole world of new chemicals to supposedly restore balance to depressed, psychotic, neurotic, or manic minds, so these people can have apparently normal lives and become useful members of society and be returned to the streets and communities to live with us.
Not feeling quite right, there is a drug for that!  Not happy with the way your child is, give him or her some Adderall.  Anxious about the job interview, pop a Valium, can’t sleep at night, Ambien is just the thing.  There are amphetamines to stimulate, barbiturates to depress, psychotropic to treat schizophrenia, bipolar, attention deficit and the list goes on.
I wonder how many people live their lives in this medically approved drug culture where how they feel, and what they think each day depends on the color of the pill they took when they woke up?  Or more to the point, how many Psychiatrists actually stay on top of the medications they are prescribing to their patients so they know with certainty they are not creating the next mass murderer? 

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