According to the Centers for Disease Control, anti-depressants have become the most commonly prescribed drugs in the United States. After watching Adam Curtis’ The Trap, it was fascinating to learn where it all began.
I couldn’t help but parallel the segment of the rise of psychiatry movement, which in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s put into place a checklist of symptoms to determine if someone was “mentally ill” with depression or anxiety, with what we see in our country today. By answering the questions on this checklist created by Dr. Robert Spitzer, consumers were able to discover whether or not they were dealing with “abnormal” emotion and functioning in the way humans were meant to function. It was later realized that this guide took only an objective look at these symptoms. The feelings were never contextualized within the consumer’s life, and normal emotions such as sadness, fear and anxiety were easily medicalized.
While the checklist created by Spitzer is no longer in place, I see a similarity between this and the direct-to-consumer advertising of anti-depressants (and many, many other pharmaceuticals) we are now prestened with, often leading to self-diagnosis. Read More