Saturday, August 20, 2011


You may be pleased to know (maybe not) that the American Society of Addiction Medicine has released a brand new definition and description of addiction. They say it is a “bio-psycho-socio-spiritual illness” (I am not joking). No doubt it is, as that seems to cover most every possibility. They also say it has a genetic component but is also influenced by personal environmental factors. Got it? In other words they don’t know what it is. They do, however, claim that all addictions are the same. That is, an addiction to tobacco is no different than an addiction to alcohol, opiates, or other drugs. It is, they further claim, a “disease” (as opposed to a moral failing) for which the addict him or herself is not responsible, they simply cannot help it (this seems to be modeled on the disease theory of alcoholism that came into vogue quite a long time ago). As it is a single entity, any addiction is like all others, and presumably should be subject to the same treatments (I guess). As far as I know the pharmaceutical industry has not yet created an anti-addiction pill but they probably will. Sometimes I believe they create a pill first and then invent an illness for its use later, but perhaps I am over cynical. But as you might surmise, this new definition is a radical departure from how addictions have been treated up until now, as separate entities that is: alcoholism, opiates and other drugs, nicotine, and so on. As these specialists admit the disease of addiction cannot be treated only with drugs, it is also necessary to provide some form of therapy (talking, that again covers all bases). As many people have a propensity to addiction, and it is theoretically possible to be addicted to all sorts of things: sex, violence, stealing women’s panties, chewing gum, soft drinks, masochism, baseball, and etc., etc., this is good from the standpoint of those who make their living treating addicts, the more addictions the better. And as they are all the same treatment should be much simpler.

The American Psychiatric Association has reportedly been working on a new definition of addiction for their Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (the DSM). This has not yet appeared but reportedly sticks with the traditional view of different addictions as indeed different. Going by past psychiatric definitions this new one will probably be as near to meaningless as many other psychiatric terms. This is going to set up an interesting battle between these different approaches, especially as by law practitioners are required to use the DSM. Unfortunately the DSM is not always very precise or even very helpful. If you peruse it even briefly you will be struck either by the lack of precision or by the questionable attempts at precision. There are, for example, 31 different categories of Bipolar disorders, 14 different categories of Depression disorders, and so on. There are categories like Adjustment Disorder – unspecified, as well as several presumably specified Adjustment disorders, Borderline Personality Disorder, and other general terms that are quite arbitrary, or so they seem to me. Not only that, but in recent years new psychiatric terms seem to multiply rapidly and also, I think, for questionable reasons. This is especially true for children who seem to be drugged nowadays for what in the past were probably regarded as typical childhood behaviors. ADHD (Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) for example. If a child does not attend well to the teacher and moves about too much to suit the teacher, he/she is very apt to be labeled ADHD and given drugs. Drugs are also sometimes prescribed to keep children better behaved at home. While there may be extreme cases that would require drugs I’m pretty certain that this is normal childhood behavior, especially when you consider that children are not really programmed (as yet) to sit still at attention for several hours a day. I know people who work with children diagnosed with one thing and another who all agree the kids are being unnecessarily drugged, even children as young as two. Raising children, not yet domesticated, is a difficult task, how easy to just give them a pill to keep them quiet and submissive. There seems little doubt that Americans in general, and American children in particular, are taking more and more drugs every year, Adderal, Prozac, Ritlin, and others. This certainly does not bode well for our future, unless, of course, that is the kind of submissive, unthinking, and completely non-threatening populace you want, sheep to uncomplainingly follow the corporate Judas goats into serfdom and poverty.

Half of the modern drugs could well be thrown out of the window, except that the birds might eat them.

Dr. Martin Henry Fischer

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