The Blue Raccoon

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Placebo Nation
Denial is a non-prescription drug

Via, Nov. 29, 2003.

"In the '60's, people took acid to make the world weird. Now the world is weird and people take Prozac to make it normal." --quoted by "Mr. Purple" in the comments of James Howard Kunstler's Clusterfuck Nation blog, and the citation is from another peak oil blog.

Except that research during recent years indicate that for many people, placebos are just as effective as Prozac.

Gary Greenberg, a therapist, wrote in a 2003 Mother Jones, "that in more than half of the 47 trials used by the Food and Drug Administration to approve the six leading antidepressants on the market, the drugs failed to outperform sugar pills, and in the trials that were successful, the advantage of drugs over placebo was slight.
As it would hardly help drug sales, pharmaceutical companies don't publish unsuccessful trials, so University of Connecticut psychology professor Irving Kirsch and his co-authors used the Freedom of Information Act to extract the data from the FDA.
What they found has led them, and other researchers who've investigated antidepressants' relatively poor showing against placebos, to conclude that millions of people may be spending billions of dollars on medicines that owe their popularity as much to clever marketing as to chemistry, and suffering serious side effects -- not to mention becoming dependent on drugs for healing they might be able to do without them -- in the bargain."

You can read the whole thing here.

If that's too lefty for you, this information has popped up in other places; at Science-A-Go-Go in 2002, here and from the British Daily Mail, just this month, here.

I've not yielded to the temptation of extensive therapy, though wondered at times if I should've given it a go, and my mood altering drugs of choice are coffee, Legend beer and the very occasional cigar that I often share with Amie.

The point here is, and we all possess an intellectual awareness of this: large corporations and marketing of miracluous cures are invovled, you can never trust them. They are no better than patent medicine hucksters. And this goes from children's toys, to automobiles, to government policies, and even up and especially including presidential candidates.

So many bloggists out there screaming about the end of the world as we know it, and pruporting to hold the truth, and bellowig that the "we the sheeple" need to wake up....but it's just bloggists bloviating to bloggists. The majority of the country gets its news predigsted from television and their preferred online sources, and not that many are over-adventurous because they might see or read something that frightens them.

Or, they run with glee down the various conspiracy theory sites because it is far easier to accept a globe-girdling group calling the shots for everybody than accept that humans are very smart about doing dumb things. But, this gives the conspriacists a ready-made excuse-- due to the immense size of Conspiracy, is impossible to take down short of some kind of violent overthrow, and that's never going to happen, because, well, violence gets people hurt and killed, and after all, would interrupt the next installment of Lost. Being Jeremiah has only one reward, that of being right, and when everything is crashing down on the heads of you and all you know, then there's no solace in rectitude.

As for the other aspect of that statement, the world is weird by its nature. Our constructs have rendered existence absurd. Again, I quote the poster on the Gawker site this past summer:

"If the mental health industry were honest, it would admit that the consequences of freedom are aimlessness and anomie, and that a consequence of the market economy is a lifetime of consumerism culminating in death without meaning. If this life is a hell for some, the world we have inherited is why...Of course, if the mental health industry were honest, nobody would buy their happy drugs anymore; and everybodies [sic.] gotta make a living - right?"

Besides aimlessness and anomie is art, though -- and that is a whole different world of issues.

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