Garth George: Manufactured illness needs attention

By Garth George


So the number of prescriptions for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) medication has jumped by about 40 per cent in the Rotorua area in the past six years.

Who's surprised that figures from Pharmac show the number of subsidised prescriptions for medications such as Ritalin in the Lakes District reached 2400 last year, up from 1700 in 2006?

There was a time when hyper-active children and kids with a short attention span were simply accepted as being hyperactive, easily distracted or just plain naughty.

And these things were dealt with by parents using understanding, patience and firm discipline.

As a result, nine out of 10 kids grew out of it.

But then the medical profession decided to label it an illness and, as is usual in this modern age, soon found a pill to throw at it.

Thus, thousands of children today are being prescribed Ritalin, a drug which can have some very serious and nasty side-effects.

No one seems to want to believe that the ADHD symptoms are just another result of the world we have created for ourselves or, rather, allowed politicians and economists to create for us.

A vast number of children nowadays live in single-parent homes; a vast number more live in homes where both parents work.

So we can take it for granted that most children today live in homes where parents are not able, no matter how much they want to, to always be there for their kids, to love them and cherish them and provide the security that all children need.

Is it any wonder that so many end up accused of being hyper-active and easily distracted? It will take much more than a pill and, perhaps, a bit of "counselling", to overcome this manufactured illness called ADHD.

Neither is it surprising that nationally subsidised anti-depressant prescriptions have blown out to 1,376,000 last year, 37 per cent more than in 2006.

Considering the sort of lives many of us live it's not surprising that depression is so common. I suspect little of it is caused by chemical imbalances in the body.

Most of it will be simply a chronic dose of the blues, brought on by the pressures of living in a world that seems to insist that the only measure of success is to have lots of money and the property and prestige that goes with it.

We live in a society in which anxiety is just under the surface and erupts with monotonous, if brief, regularity. If it's not global warming, or earthquakes, or the price of food and petrol, or leaky homes, or unemployment, or selling state assets, it's an ever-present fear that we will lose what we have or won't get what we want.

Is it any wonder so many of us live in a constant state of unhappiness, which doctors and others in the "helping professions" are only too quick to label depression? And to throw a pill at. Or to direct some counselling at.

Abraham Lincoln had it sussed. "Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be," said he.

The failure to deal with depression - except by treating the symptoms with pills and/or "counselling" - is quite plain: it is a disease that affects men and women not just in mind and body, but in spirit.

Science can assist the body with medicines and the mind with psychology, but it can't heal a malaise of the spirit. In an age in which God is seen by so many to be a historical fiction, and by a lot more to be of no account even if He exists, men and women who suffer from depression have no place to turn.

I know, because I've been there.

garth.george@hotmail.com

- ROTORUA DAILY POST

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a5 at 20 Sep 2014 03:51:12 Processing Time: 281ms