Weigh the Scale
America is a capitalist society; its citizens are exposed to hundreds and thousands of advertisements every day by big companies and corporations who thrive on exploitation for profit. Sadly, among the crowd of savage corporations lies the pharmaceutical industry. Because this industry is owned and operated by private parties, it inevitably falls victim to the same capitalist greed. The downfall to having the pharmaceutical industry in the hands of the free market is that they’re in it for the profit and worry not about human welfare. This alone leads to less money spent on low quality testing for newly developed drugs and a lot more money spent on advertisement.
Ted Gup’s son fell victim to the capitalist pharmaceutical industry when he was diagnosed with ADHD in grade school. His son, along with 6.1 million other school children (11% of all school children) was diagnosed with this disorder, when in reality, he was just a growing child, hyperactive with excitement as a child should be, ready to explore the world (Gup). Ted was concerned with his son’s hyperactivity and tried taking him to psychologists, but some of them refused to even see him until he was on medication already. Ted’s son was a hyperactive, excited child but because of excessive advertisement by big pharmaceutical companies, Ted was convinced his son had a disorder. Doctors prescribed this young, developing child ADHD medication. ADHD medication has countless harmful side effects, some of which can certainly be fatal, but the reluctant Ted was eventually persuaded to allow his son access to the pills.
Ted Gup’s son is dead, and so are the morals of the executives in the pharmaceutical industry who chose profit over human life when they convinced Ted that his son’s natural hyperactivity was not normal and needed medical attention in the form of the pills they’ve manufactured.
The problem here lies in the countless side effects of over medication and diagnosis as a result of a capitalist health system. Instead of attacking government and the health industry at its foundation, the less tedious, more effective solution to the overmedication epidemic in the U.S. would be to turn to more rational, natural cures for problems like ADHD. Now, don’t misunderstand, ADHD is a very real disorder and most definitely deserves medical attention; however there are alternate methods to addressing the problem to avoid introducing drugs with countless side effects to children that are still developing. As mourning father Ted says in his article, “Diagnosis: Human” “Instead of enhancing our coping skills, we undermine them and seek shortcuts where there are none, eroding the resilience upon which each of us, at some point in our lives, must rely.”
In this age of easily available and acquirable drugs, we as people have sacrificed our resilience to the industry in exchange for easy ways out and quick fixes to problems. The side effects that medication could potentially have on the mind are immeasurable; consequently, they have a huge effect on the future of a child whose parents decided they’d prefer an unnecessary, quick solution to their child’s natural hyperactivity.
Furthermore, Ted reports in his article that his son eventually began selling his prescription drug to his classmates who were not even prescribed it. Since the companies who produce these drugs market them so gloriously as the solution to a student’s focus issues in school, these students pay no mind to the consequence it may have on their bodies, leaving them vulnerable to the same side effects.
In addition to the negative side effects reported by the pharmaceutical companies, these drugs also have significant unintentional side effects, sometimes as a consequence to the initial side effects it may have such as insomnia and lack of appetite. An example of this could be found in school students who take these drugs (some not prescribed) thinking it will help them on tests. What happens is, these students begin taking the pills regularly in small doses, and when they see slight increases in academic performance, they increase the regular doses. These ADHD pills release dopamine, meaning the children develop an addiction, leading to a long line of problems which I won’t dabble in. Taking the pills regularly, the children begin to develop insomnia and lose their appetite completely, losing sleep (a major health necessity, especially for developing children) and losing unhealthy amounts of weight. Is letting your child lose sleep which is crucial to their development and lose unhealthy amounts of weight worth them being calm and focusing a little more?
Taking into account the significant amount of collateral damage this most definitely has on young, developing human beings, the bad heavily outweighs the good, and these drugs are damaging our youth.
ADHD is a real disorder, but the drugs they offer to combat it aren’t practical. In our day and age, there are many different ways we can help fight ADHD without the use of prescription drugs that have countless harmful side effects. Some alternative forms of treatment include therapy and academic accommodations which can help teach the patient how to focus better on their own without the use of effort-substitutes such as drugs. By treating the patients with ADHD through therapy and other natural exercises, you eliminate the possibility that the side effects of prescription drugs will hurt the patient with all the side effects, and the patient will most definitely benefit more in the long run. You also decrease the number of drugs readily available in societies because less prescriptions are being used, and the overmedication epidemic in our country comes to a halt.
The pharmaceutical companies aren’t entirely to blame. After all, it is a capitalist market and it can only survive through profits. But something needs to be done to raise awareness in schools, homes, and other institutions in society where these drugs are readily available to alert the public of the relatively life-altering effects that these drugs have. I too fell victim to the pressure of my peers who all sold and used these drugs for leisure and “academic help” (all of them were prescribed when they in fact didn’t have a problem at all), but I did my research and distanced myself from the medication when I began witnessing the changes in my own self. Some people are less aware, and as one thing leads to another, more and more beautiful people are falling victim to the same fate as Ted’s son.
Don’t take the risk; don’t allow your friends and family and the children in our schools to follow the same road. There are natural ways to combat disorders such as ADHD and it’s up to the people to decide whether or not this quick-fix pill is what’s best for their children.
Gup, Ted. “Diagnosis: Human.” The New York Times. The New York Times Company. 2 Apr. 2013. https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.nytimes.com/2013/04/03/opinion/diagnosis-human.amp.html 13 Dec. 2013.