Monday, December 3, 2012

Capitalism makes us sick

Oh dear! It appears I have hoarding disorder, the Wall Street Journal reports this morning.  It's the new psychiatric condition, "Characterizing people who have persistent difficulty parting with possessions regardless of their value."  I am actually having a serious attack this morning as I am having my old 1988 Sentra towed away after it blew a head gasket.  At the same time, some woodcutters are coming to remove my beautiful Monterrey pine as it's dangerously close to the house.  I am having great difficulty parting with both.

At least I can't be diagnosed with the new "disruptive mood dysregulation disorder" as this is the new diagnosis for children that have three or more tantrums a week for more than a year. 

The American Psychiatric Association voted this last weekend to approve its handbook for mental illness or the "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders".  The wording of these various syndromes and disorders affects millions of adults and children as to who gets treated for what or who receives subsidized assistance amounting to billions of dollars in health care spending.

The new definitions include combining Asperger's Syndrome, described as a "mild version of autism" with "pervasive development disorder not otherwise specified" in to one category, "Autism Spectrum Disorder".  The new designation of "disruptive mood dysregulation disorder" (DMDD) for children will hopefully offer an "alternative" to "pediatric bipolar disorder" as apparently, cases of PBD have risen drastically in recent years.  The good news for the drug companies is that prescriptions for antipsychotic medication have risen which is good for profits.

I am not sure my "hoarding disorder" is covered by my medical insurance, I have it bad too. I hate parting with friends and more often than not break in to tears. I gave my old Nissan a pat as the guy towed it off,  and hugged my tree before the arborists got here.   I am a wreck. This is making my restless leg syndrome worse.

I would be interested knowing what the psychiatric manual says about what I call, "overcome by TV advertising syndrome" and "rejection of Christmas music on the radio syndrome". After being bombarded with ads for Halloween candy, black Friday (I just realized I can't really put my finger on what Thanksgiving is really about) and now toys for Christmas which I thought had something to do with a religious celebration, these syndromes should be studied.  "Made sick by sales ads syndrome" is very widespread, especially as all sorts of human emotions and feelings are drawn upon to sell the product and all they want from you is cash.

I have heard of "excessive shyness syndrome" and of course, there are pills for all these ailments including "binge eating disorder".

I remember some 45 years ago visiting a chicken hatchery.  The birds were all scraggly looking and had pecked each other and attacked each other.  The farmer or maybe it would be better to call him and industrialist, said that the stress causes it.  The lights are on all the time and the birds are crowded together like---well, like chickens at a chicken farm.

No one denies there is mental illness, but medicine in a capitalist economy is a business. And like all science, it cannot be seen in isolation, it has a class bias and it is not fashionable or profitable to investigate in a serious way the effect of society on our individual make up, medicine has to create profits.

The alienation, insecurity, individualism and competition  that the capitalist mode of production foster, would make anyone throw a tantrum here and there. It is a credit to the collective, gregarious aspect of human nature that for the most part we feel compassion and solidarity for those in worse shape than we are.  Children see millions of ads in their lifetimes as well as images of death and guns, especially here in the US.  A doctor friend of mine once told me she got a call from a patient about a disease she'd never heard of, the patient saw it on TV as the cure for it was advertised, "Call your doctor and ask her if (whatever pill) is right for you", the ads say.  In many other countries, advertising prescription drugs is forbidden.  

But in order to travel down the road to a more healthy society, we have to eliminate the cause, a system of production that rewards selfishness and individualism in the struggle for profits. We need to replace it with the collective ownership of our resources and a rational plan of production based on what we need to live a secure,  productive life in harmony with the natural world.

I think we'd see much fewer syndromes that way.

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