I Feel Your Pain, Unfortunately

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            I feel your pain, unfortunately.  I wish you would get over it, so I could feel better.


            This seemingly hard-hearted statement follows a lifetime of being brainwashed about the importance of compassion, self-sacrifice, and martyrdom.  The idea that Jesus died for our sins, for instance, promotes the questionable belief that martyrdom for a presumably unselfish cause does any good.  Does feeling another person’s pain alleviate her pain, or does it only make for two sufferers instead of one?


            They say misery loves company, but I say joy loves company, too.  It’s hard to feel joy when other people are suffering.  That’s what compassion does.


            As an escapee from the “compassion-for-hire” contingent, I’m especially distrustful of the “health care industry.”  Here we have the “industry” carefully cultivating and expanding its “market” of frightened and gullible people who don’t believe in their bodies’ natural tendency toward homeostasis.  It’s considered horrific that so many people don’t have health care insurance, but health care insurance, in reality, obstructs and distorts health care.  Or it delays health care, and creates enormous overhead of its own.


            Never mind that the “health care industry” has become so impersonal and mechanized that doctors and other personnel are interchangeable.  Anyone can write a prescription, perform a surgery, do a lab test or procedure.  Where are the cures? 


            Yes, there are examples of what other people call medical progress, like joint replacements or organ transplants.  Would I want either one?  Probably not, but since Medicare pays for it, there are people lining up to replace worn out body parts with plastic substitutes and functional organs from corpses.


            What’s most distressing about this global, sanctimonious commercialization of “health care” is that the “cripple-to-control” and profit motives have taken over and blinded the mass mind to the fundamental ideas of what “health care” means.  Basically, it has nothing to do with pills or surgery, and everything to do with care.  True that many compassionate people go into the “health care” fields, but they also want to make a living.  Curing people is bad for business, so the trend is to create a long-term dependency.  The “industry” pushes for a greater perceived need for insurance to cover an ever-growing list of possible diagnoses, with pills, procedures, gadgets, and surgeries to treat (but usually not cure) them. 


            The “psychiatric industry” alone has expanded diagnoses to include “adult ADHD” to create a life-long market for Ritalin and other amphetamines.  We have psychiatrists ganging up to push medication-assisted treatment for the latest manufactured crisis, the “opioid crisis.”  Never mind that two of the four approved medications, which now require special training to prescribe, are themselves opioids and addictive.  We have the head of the FDA, Scott Gottlieb, advocating treatment for life, which must be a boon for the drug manufacturers.  All this despite complete lack of long-term evidence that this regimen works.


            But psychiatrists haven’t stopped inventing new mental disorders yet.  Insomnia is now gaining recognition as its own “disease.”  Insomnia is already associated with a variety of psychiatric disorders, including depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and psychosis, but so-called “normal” people suffer from it, too.  (Are there any normal people left?)  Lately, I read that “Internet Addiction” is a growing and distressing problem that we need to address.  The pediatric establishment is now recommending that children twelve and over be screened regularly for depression.


            Does this make anyone else sick?  It’s distressing to me because the entire focus is on looking for trouble, or fearing trouble, or making trouble.  And this is what we call “health care” today. 


            There’s something hypocritical in the whole concept of “compassion for hire,” and this may be why patients have become so angry and litigious.  The “health care industry” promises more than it delivers by preying on fear, insecurity and the deep-seated longing most people have for understanding.  It could be argued that the increasing isolation and loneliness people feel in our society creates a void that they hope their doctors and other “providers” can fill.  In this they will be disappointed and often angry, because their insurance doesn’t cover compassion.


            The simple fact is that life is terminal, but it can be long and healthy, without outside help.  The “health care industry” doesn’t want to acknowledge those who live to old age without seeing doctors, taking pills, or getting surgery.  Those people are bad for business and for the pervasive myth that the “health care industry” is necessary for health.


John Minehan Added Apr 7, 2018 - 1:39pm
As a non-practitioner who works in Health Care, it has long been my observation that compassion is good but a concerned detachment on the part of a provider is better for all concerned.
I'm not advocating for Rand's "virtue of selfishness" but more for how the Stoics viewed all emotional reactions to any thing.
John Minehan Added Apr 7, 2018 - 1:41pm
"We have psychiatrists ganging up to push medication-assisted treatment for the latest manufactured crisis, the 'opioid crisis.'”
Did we learn nothing from the use of methadone to treat heroin addiction?
Stone-Eater Added Apr 7, 2018 - 1:46pm
We need to invent new "mental sicknesses" in order to feed the pharma industry. Or.......could it be that these problems occur BECAUSE we live in societies which are so inhuman and brutal and isolationist that they PRODUCE such ?
After 25 years in Africa I believe the latter is the case. Consumerism might be one thing that satisfies many people. But ALL of them arrive at a point in life when they ask: Was that it ?
Humans are social beings. And when that social aspect is missing, they get sick.
Stone-Eater Added Apr 7, 2018 - 1:54pm
When I was a kid, I was considered restless and too "lively" in school. Today that's called ADHD.
My daughter (15) is the same. They wanted to diagnose her the same and give her Ritalin. The school doctor showed up in our house and tried to convince us. I told him to fuck off. No coffee for you, asshole.
Katharine Otto Added Apr 7, 2018 - 1:55pm
Thanks for your comment, and so quickly, too.  I'm all for concerned detachment, but doctor burnout is real and growing, partly because of the excessive and extraneous demands.  Also, decision makers behind the scenes promise and expect too much from the providers. 
I'm not sure what we learned from methadone maintenance, which is what it was, and is.  Methadone is one of the four approved medications in the "medication-assisted treatment" regimen, along with buprenorphine, naloxone, and naltrexone.  In other words, MAT doesn't attempt to "cure" the addiction, but to perpetuate it under controlled conditions.
Stone-Eater Added Apr 7, 2018 - 2:04pm
I work with addicts in daily life. Most are on methadone or controlled heroin up to 3 x a day. And many of them not only for years, but DECADES.
I had a friend who was hooked on sugar. He came down to Mali, had a 2-week-cold turkey and got clean - up to now. How that ? Because he stayed in Africa for 6 months, has discovered how people can live together and has withstood the urge to start again until today.
That time gave him the stability to support our Western life and its coldness until today.
It doesn't help people to detox for a couple of weeks and get back into the same environment (they don't know another!).
Cynthia Rouse Added Apr 7, 2018 - 2:05pm
Big Pharma is a criminal cartel peddling depopulation, maiming for profit and soft genocide.
Stone-Eater Added Apr 7, 2018 - 2:12pm
I wouldn't go that far, but it has a point. Every method to make people DEPENDENT (of whatever) makes good sheep.
Katharine Otto Added Apr 7, 2018 - 2:35pm
I wanted to keep the article short, but you hit on several themes that deserve to be expanded.  For instance, what is the nature of addiction in the first place?  Some say it is a disease of lying, but we are taught to lie from an early age, something you touched on in your most recent post, but in a different way.  Children are told what they "should" feel and learn quickly to squelch uncomfortable emotions and not to verbalize them.
The habit of lying (or withholding) makes people feel lonely, I believe.  In a town where everyone knows everyone else and their histories, as I suspect is more common in Africa (although I've never been there), there is more tolerance, and it's harder to lie, anyway.  You don't say where your friend was when he relapsed.  Did he leave Africa to go back to the old environment?  
I'm particularly offended by the ADHD diagnosis, because I believe those kids are often too bright and bored by traditional classrooms.  Teachers won't let them in class without Ritalin or other amphetamines, because they are disruptive, but I suspect they are also trying to entertain themselves and each other.  Society's solution is to drug them up to keep them quiet, but it sets them up for addiction later.  Another case of social hypocrisy.  
Katharine Otto Added Apr 7, 2018 - 2:47pm
Thanks for reading and for your comment.  I'm no fan of pharma, but I don't believe in drug laws or patents, either.  The government, FDA and DEA, prop up the pharmaceutical industry, but the insurance industry (including Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare, and private insurance) also paves the way for pharma to get away with charging outrageous prices.  For instance, the head of the FDA, Scott Gottlieb, supports Medicaid coverage for medication-assisted opioid use disorder treatment.  
Behind all this is stands Wall Street, which spins on profits from all, and where all America's retirement funds are invested.  
Dino Manalis Added Apr 7, 2018 - 2:48pm
Compassion is free, but priceless, stay healthy and avoid the doctor!
George N Romey Added Apr 7, 2018 - 2:52pm
Katharine very good article.  I believe what you see is something that is systemic in society in general, particularly the world of work.  Today everyone needs to be a "superstar" and leaders think that we should be able to multitask ten things at a time.  Doctors are increasingly being pushed for "efficiencies" and "the bottom line."  What suffers is care and its reduced to pushing drugs.  Often the economic anxiety that has impacted older workers (the first to be fired and the very, very, very last to be hired) manifests itself into health issues.  The doctor can't cure the genesis of the stress and pushed for more "profitable" patients pushes pharma.
You are right about staying away from the bloodsucking tentacles of the healthcare system.  Despite enough stress to kill an elephant over the past five years I've stayed away from the "system."  I've had people tell me walk into an emergency room, claim you are going crazy and get all kinds of drugs thrown at you.  Then apply for disability.  Pretty much sums up our system.  Take what would otherwise be happy, functional and productive people, crap all over them and hook them onto the "public welfare system."
Cynthia Rouse Added Apr 7, 2018 - 2:54pm
You're right, Katherine. Biowarfare is real. The evidence of it is seen in the population which is getting sicker, dying earlier, more addicted, less fit, dumbed down by tech, more overweight and more dependent on Big Pharma compounds to live. Likewise, Big/Agra GMO is making people very sick. The good news is the Truth is now out there. People may choose health, vitality and longevity. It's a choice. Choose Life...
; - )
Stone-Eater Added Apr 7, 2018 - 3:18pm
Whoo....I don't know how to comment on your comment, there's also so many points to see.....hang on...
In a town where everyone knows everyone else and their histories, as I suspect is more common in Africa (although I've never been there), there is more tolerance, and it's harder to lie, anyway.
Not at all. Quite the opposite. Let's put it that way: In Africa, doors are open, everybody chats with everybody, and at first you think it's a sign of tolerance. It is NOT. In Africa, everybody depends on everybody else to survive, so you have to play the same game, even though you think differently. Hypocrisy..
My business partner and good friend is an exceptionally bright person who has studied everything from Plato to Kant to Nietzsche to the Bible to the Quran, and he's Muslim. And he is a very isolated person in his environment, because he knows TOO MUCH. People told him to marry a white European woman since "he thinks like an European"....
Did he leave Africa to go back to the old environment?  
Yep, he's here, a bit older than me, 65, and he will go back as soon as possible, he's made friends too and he's a tolerant and open person. The 1000 bucks retirement money in Switzerland will get him nowhere here but in Africa he'll have sunshine and a modest life - and there older people are still respected....
....and I told you my reply concerning drugs for kids LOL
Katharine Otto Added Apr 7, 2018 - 3:20pm
You write a lot about the marginalization of older people, and I agree.  We are particularly vulnerable to the "health care system."  When people are out of work for any reason, whether by choice--like retirement--or not, their social contacts are often reduced, and they are more likely to suffer from loneliness.  Age-related physical problems, like visual impairments or being hard of hearing, also increase feelings of isolation.  
I wonder if visiting doctors is a way to assuage loneliness.  It would be nice if there were more places where people could gather informally, and just hang out, without having to pay for it, but where are they?  The library got rid of the comfortable chairs because homeless people were sleeping in them.  City hall locks its restrooms because homeless people wash up in them.  Ye gods.  Why is public land closed to the public?  Another rant, another day, but I suspect this attitude of carelessness is contributing to the growing restlessness and disquietude in the country.
Katharine Otto Added Apr 7, 2018 - 3:27pm
You're right, and that's why I wrote the article, to remind people they have choices.  To be so focused on the negative is debilitating, for individuals, nations, and the world as a whole.  While the accepted dogma is that competition is good, I believe cooperation is better and replenishes energy (and health) instead of depleting it.
Neil Lock Added Apr 7, 2018 - 3:34pm
Katharine: Excellent article. I agree on the "cripple-to-control" motive (here we call it "breaking people's legs and then giving them crutches.") Of course, there are also those that rush to make the problems seem worse, and to profit from the results.
Cynthia Rouse Added Apr 7, 2018 - 4:00pm
Couldn't agree more, Katherine. Fair competition includes a healthy dose of cooperation, or the win/win paradigm.
; - )
Katharine Otto Added Apr 7, 2018 - 10:24pm
Your philosopher friend would probably have trouble finding simpatico spirits anywhere.  But from what you've written before, it doesn't sound like Europeans are very tolerant, either. 
When you say "here," does that mean you're back in Switzerland now?  You're moving, right?  I can't keep up with which "here" you're referring to.
Needing each other to survive sounds like de facto tolerance to me.  "Playing the game" isn't necessarily hypocritical, unless you intentionally misrepresent yourself.  Sometimes, it's just being respectful of other people's beliefs.  
Katharine Otto Added Apr 7, 2018 - 10:34pm
Thanks for the kudos.  The "cripple-to-control" types are related to the "need-to-be-needed" types.  Both groups sap initiative and drain vitality.  The profiteering agenda does more harm than good, I think, and it certainly isn't "health care." 
Stone-Eater Added Apr 8, 2018 - 2:56am
I'm back in Switzerland until about July. I do back and forth, since I work for/with the chamber of commerce Switzerland-Africa, representation Senegal. Means I have to be in Switzerland too....but my stay in Switzerland becomes less and less.
Stone-Eater Added Apr 8, 2018 - 2:58am
BTW: You're right. We're not more tolerant than others in general.
Doug Plumb Added Apr 8, 2018 - 4:26am
Every institution of the West is being wrecked, why not health care?
Katharine Otto Added Apr 8, 2018 - 11:27am
As far as intolerance goes, I think it shows in the proliferation of rules and laws.  People seem willing to restrict their own freedoms to control the other guy, like what colors you're allowed to paint your front door.  In my mind's eye, I see that happening more in Europe than Africa. That's what I meant by tolerance.  Maybe the unwritten rules are more pronounced.  
I can't speak for either one, since I only spent a few minutes in Switzerland, many years ago and have never been to Africa.  I can say that in the US the rules and laws are comprehensive, contradictory, and inequitably enforced, if they can be enforced at all.  I suspect that much top-down control fosters a seething rage that erupts in episodes of violence and wars.  I suspect the ever growing efforts to control the problems only intensify the problems, but few people see it that way.
Bill H. Added Apr 8, 2018 - 11:31am
I am appalled at the rising prices of drugs. My wife is a three time cancer survivor and is now taking some medication for ME/CFS, which is thought to be a byproduct of prior chemotherapy. Within just the last year, the prices of several of her drugs have increased by around 20%, not to mention an increase in the out of pocket costs for what the insurance doesn't cover.
One trick that the pharmaceutical companies are using to gouge customers is to simply slightly modify the original drugs formulation a bit, give it a new fancy name (ex: change colchicine to Colcrys and raise the price from pennies per pill to over $5 per pill). Pharma companies are also trying to capitalize on the benefits of cannabis by synthesizing cannabis compounds and giving them fancy names and outrageous prices (ex: Nabilone, Cesamet, Dronabinol).
Katharine Otto Added Apr 8, 2018 - 11:34am
The institutions have become too big and cumbersome and are collapsing from their own weight.  A person's health care is an individual thing, and it resists being institutionalized.  While "the system" clunks along, costing more and more for more and more procedures, drugs, and other treatment, everyone I know feels short changed in one way or another by it. 
Why?  Partly, I think, by the fact that human beings are different from machines, and so are their bodies.  The mechanistic approach doesn't feel like "caring."
Katharine Otto Added Apr 8, 2018 - 1:40pm
Bill H,
Thanks for the information.  I know that pharma can get new patents by making simple changes, such as changing the coating on old meds, thereby justifying higher prices.  
I just ran across a good article about pharmaceuticals, including some cancer drugs, on a blog I follow, Justice4Poland.com.  There's a lot in Polish and political, but HKW, the main author, sometimes writes about the "health care industry" from an outside-the-US point of view.  This article, published April 5, is in English and entitled "Don't Automatically Trust Your Doctor--It Might Kill You."
Doug Plumb Added Apr 8, 2018 - 4:44pm
Katharine, its true of all institutions, with bailouts, most of these corps, GM, Ford, etc would be part of history. An institution needs a person with a vision and these people die off and get replaced with boards who only look at the short term, whether it be profit or interdepartmental /establishment approval. There is no long range vision.
The fact that there isn't in our public institutions, no common law ethic ("Do no harm" is something most docs no longer swear to) to guide policy is another sign that the West is being wrecked.
George N Romey Added Apr 8, 2018 - 6:46pm
So my questioning is along the lines of isn’t all of this to be expected when we make healthcare a for profit business? Why would we be surprise healthcare wants to sell massive amounts products and services then jump down the throats of the providers, doctors to keep revenues increasing but costs declining?
Healthy people that try to maintain a more natural means of good health do the healthcare and pharma business no good.
Ian Thorpe Added Apr 9, 2018 - 12:24pm
I loved this article Katherine, it's refreshing to find a medical professional who shares so many of my views on what has become and industry.
I often get taken to task for lampooning psychology and it's conveyor belt production methods for creating new disorders. About three or four years ago I leaned I have 'Oppositional Defiant Disorder' (ODD) which prompts me to defy authority. Well I've known I was odd since the 1960s, but my habit of questioning authority is a result of the renaissance education which teaches us to question everything.
For some years I've been harassed by medics who want to take out my gall bladder. I occasionally suffer attacks which have some symptoms that resemble blockages of the bile duct by gallstone, they also have symptoms which suggest something else is going on. There is intense pain, bloating of the stomach, alternating high and low temperature and a few other things. Many of the symptoms are the same as cause by Henbane poisoning but I'm as sure it is not that as I am that it is not gallstones. This is because I throw up and the symptoms quickly disappear, to recur only after many months, sometimes over a year. It does appear though, due to poor liver function afterwards that my body has poisoned itself somehow.
Because of the 'other things' that occur before these attacks I have formed the impression that the attacks are somehow related to muscles reawakening after many years of paralysis. The paralysis (now only partial thanks to the work of physiotherapists and my bloody minded determination) is a result of a brain haemorrhage 20 years ago.
When I have shared my thoughts and experiences with doctors they have been dismissive. "Oh no, there's no condition like that," I'm told, "you need your gall bladder out because that helps us hit our targets". (They don't actually say that last bit but it's there in the pauses between the words.)
After one particularly bad attack, when my liver function was dangerously low, I found my left butt cheek, which had been like a cannonball for years, returned to something like normality.
After my last routine health check I was being pressured again so I did my own research and found there is indeed a condition related to prolonged inactivity in muscle tissue that affects the liver in the way I experience. I saved details but they're not on this computer, it starts with an 'R' and there's an 'h' in there somewhere :-) That is an example of how medicine has become a corporate money spinner, in all the corporations I worked for towards the end of my career, actions were driven by process and procedure. People with the ability to think for themselves were not promoted, they only rock the boat.
So yes, the empathic approach does not cut much ice with me because I see the motives behind it. And as I've always replied when Christians tell me Jesus died for my sins, "Well that's tough, but I didn't ask him to."
Katharine Otto Added Apr 9, 2018 - 2:48pm
It does seem that most institutions begin with one person who has a vision.  Look at Christianity and what's become of it.  In my view, it seems the opposite of what Jesus preached.
As far as "do no harm," I guess you have to determine what constitutes "harm."  A lot of people expect their doctors to "do something, even if it's wrong," and will doctor-shop until they find a doctor to comply.  I don't believe doctors harm people on purpose, but they are inclined to overdo or make mistakes based on what's expected, allowed, or compensated.  Mostly, though, I think doctors just cannot stand to feel helpless.
Katharine Otto Added Apr 9, 2018 - 2:54pm
I agree completely.  When you turn an individual relationship into an industry composed of absentee bosses who all expect a piece of the action, you're looking for trouble.
People think doctors are greedy, and many are, or have become so.  However, back when people could afford to pay for health care and had individualized relationships with their doctors, the doctors didn't make or require so much money.  My great-grandfather kept a stack of patient bills on his desk.  When the family needed money, his wife would pull a bill from the bottom of the pile and send it out.  People got care--even house calls--and nobody starved.
Katharine Otto Added Apr 9, 2018 - 2:59pm
Sounds like you have a complicated case and complicated history, totally unique.  Too bad your doctors won't admit they don't know everything.  
I'm in awe of the body and how complex it is.  There are so many things that can go wrong, and these affect entire systems.  It's also amazing how many things do go right on a regular basis, without our having to think about them.  Imagine all the interactions that have to take place just to blink your eyes.
Too bad the medical profession won't admit that it has less than a thimbleful of real knowledge about how the body performs and how to fix what's broke.  A little humility would go a long way.
Thanks for your story.  
Katharine Otto Added Apr 9, 2018 - 3:04pm
By the way, I remember your mentioning the ODD before.  It is ludicrous and sad, isn't it, that "the establishment" wants to pathologize the tendency to ask questions and challenge authority.  The establishment doesn't like backtalk, doncha know, so there must be something wrong with you.
Bill H. Added Apr 9, 2018 - 4:03pm
Not only can they raise the price by altering the coating or composition, but by changing the coating or composition to make the pill harder, it eliminates the ability to cut pills in half and usually results in the pill shattering, thereby increasing their profits even more. I take a half dose of Metformin for borderline diabetes and now I have to pay a premium to get a pill that will not shatter from a specific vendor. Both prior vendors adapted the "hardened pill" trick to increase profits. This also forces people to by their specific dose while being unable to buy the higher dose and cut the pill in half to save money. I actually found the same crap going on with pet medications lately.
Yep, it's all about profits and not at all about concern for patients.
Pardero Added Apr 9, 2018 - 4:15pm
Katharine Otto,
I read your fine article earlier, but wasn't sure I could make a relevant comment.
I'd like to say that I have had some terrific physicians over the years, and most were FNPs and PAs. I was going to leave my present clinic when my excellent PA moved away. I have hypothyroidism that fluctuates wildly sometimes. 
I don't like my 'doctor' per se, he is arrogant and doesn't listen to anything I say. I am pleased to see the PAs indefinitely.
I was uneasy with the new PA because she is such a beautiful lady. I got over that. She is a wonderful PA, though I am sweet on the lab lady. : )
Ian Thorpe Added Apr 10, 2018 - 11:26am
Katherine, I've always believed in what one of the old bubble and Squeak guys said (rhyming slang BTW), Let food be thy medicine and let medicine be thy food.
Someone once told me: "Avoid white sugar and anything adulterated with chemicals and the body can fix most things itself."
Unfortunately it cannot fix hyper - stress, but that's one of the diseases of modern life.
Stone-Eater Added Apr 10, 2018 - 11:35am
I missed the most important part:
I feel your pain, unfortunately.  I wish you would get over it, so I could feel better.
That's the feeling I had and still have when it comes to my family in Cameroon. Unfortunately people are so creepy that they tell me (on the net) that I'm PRETENDING to help to feel superior.
What a sick world that is.
Tom C. Purcell Added Apr 10, 2018 - 12:13pm
Fine article, K.O.  You know that I feel similarly, from my post a month or so ago on 'Federal Pain Management'. 
"Where are the cures?"
Heh, I'm pretty sure those are only for the mega-rich.  Ya know, like W. Buffet, whos $11 Billion home remains on the market while many square miles of tent cities swell in California and elsewhere.  Oregon continues to import software pros from India, and they're clogging traffic in their Mercedes and BMW's, while multi-generational Americans continue to find themselves on the street or worse.  Hmmm, I wonder why White American male life expectancy is plummeting.
Stone-Eater Added Apr 10, 2018 - 12:16pm
That has no connection with "white". Immigrants and refugees are cheaper, and when that's not enough, outsource.
Color is not an agenda of economics. That's what the media wants to sell us.
Tom C. Purcell Added Apr 10, 2018 - 12:18pm
That's one of those comments, Stone, where it becomes very clear that you are far away, disassociated from the convoluted socioeconomic state of affairs in the U.S. 
Enjoy your perceptions and opinions, because sometimes they're on the money.  But be careful about jumping to such conclusions or you will cease to be taken seriously by actual Americans, like me.
Stone-Eater Added Apr 10, 2018 - 12:23pm
BTW: The best way to make a society obedient is to make it poor. That can be done by
a) reducing education
b) demand lots of $$$ to GET a decent education
c) create more jobs but low-paid ones (statistics....)
d) offer jobs in government (police, army) in order to get them into line because they HAVE JOBS
How do you think that African societies work nowadays ? Get an army which is well paid by a president and cabinet of YOUR choice. When you want to get rid of that president (maybe because he has ideas of his own), shorten his cash in order to not be able to pay his supporting army, and then you will see that his army turns against him (because there's no pay), and you can quiety install another puppet who gets his credits of the IMF and the World Bank.
But then he has to behave. Not like Sankara, Kathafi or Saddam, or Krumah or Lumumba.
Dave Volek Added Apr 10, 2018 - 12:28pm
Nice article Katherine and great comments.
Back in my marketing course, one of the ways to make more money was to convince current users to use more of the same product. We can see that strategy in so many ways, so why not the pharmaceutical industry?
My son has ADHD. We tried Concerta in Grade 2 and had to cut it out because he lost appetite and was losing weight. We started again in Grade 7. No side effects that we can see, but he is doing much better in school. Ideally, we would like him not to take Concerta as there are still uncertainties with it, but this drug is providing benefits to his life. He is completing his school assignments in school most of the time, which is going to have an impact for the rest of his life. In the end, there is a trade-off. Hopefully the parents and doctor are making the right call.  In Canada, it seems Ritalin has given way to this better medication.
Rather than denigrate the psychiatric profession, I think we need to acknowledge that we are learning new ways of handling various ailments. I wouldn't want to go back to a time before Freud when we just lumped all people with anti-social behavior as anti-social and cast them off somewhere to fend for themselves. A lot of these mental illnesses can be treated. A lot can be managed well if the illness is understood.
I get anxiety attacks often coupled with depression. When I recognize the symptoms, I can usually talk myself out of the them in a few hours. But I know there are other people who get a bigger imbalance in brain chemistry than I, and their challenge is greater. Medication may be the answer for them. A good physician should look at all alternatives.
For sure, the schools should do more for kids like my son. And they are handling ADHD better than schools in the past. For example, David's school schedules as much gym time as possible as his options. But we are still a society that hasn't placed its priorities always in the right places. So the schools are limited in what they can do.
And we should be wary of all the angst our media gives to us. Watching politics may be a good entertainment for us, but maybe this is also contributing to our collective mental health.
Stone-Eater Added Apr 10, 2018 - 12:29pm
Why am I always pointing to Africa ? Not only because I know how it works, but because when you study African "politics" since "independence" about 1958 to 1960, you will see parallels to the Middle east starting from Iran 1953 until today.
People tell me: It's all the fault of you Europeans. Ok. I admit that.
But why the fuck are the US repeating the same shit on a more "refined" level ? Because they haven't learned a fucking thing. They're about as ignorant of foreign cultures and societies as we were before. That's the tragedy.
Stone-Eater Added Apr 10, 2018 - 12:41pm
To all
Please ask yourself why we diagnose and "treat" mental illnesses - which are to a 90% NONE ? Because we haven't realized that our way of life is largely the cause of them and the "cure" is cash for criminals.
Whenever you go to live in other continents you won't see any ADHD or other diagnosis. They will simply say that their kid is ACTIVE.
And all of them will grow out of their non-diagnosed ADHD.
And that closes the circle to what I said before about Africa. We think we know all and our way is best. That's why we have so many problems and wars. But we don't LOOK further than our Western doorstep and we're not ready to accept that old, ancient cultures which are wiser than us have something to say we could profit from.
Humanity has always progressed. But it can't progress further when we forget everything which happened before. That's why we're now, 2018, in a situation of starting another world war.
Big Bang in small.
Katharine Otto Added Apr 10, 2018 - 1:16pm
Bill H.,
I didn't know about that.  Thanks for letting us all know.  It's sad that people "swallow" these gimmicks and don't have a good forum for comparing notes and demanding some pharma accountability.  Unfortunately, the FDA seems to work for the drug companies instead of the public.  The pharmaceutical companies also fund most university research through their grants, so we can't count on the universities to advocate for patients, either.
I don't like doctors much, either, these days, especially not their attitudes.  They have become technicians and probably feel under the whip, because they have allowed the absentee bosses to take over.  Most, I suspect, are so laden with debt and overhead, plus time pressure and fear of lawsuits, that they lose sight of the intended purpose of medicine.  If they ever had "bedside manner," it gets lost by the wayside.  At least your doctor has good staff, which speaks well for him.
I wish more people understood that most of our Western diseases result from the complicated, over-stressed, conflicting lifestyles we lead.  Not only has nutrition been given short shrift, but the way we eat, on the run, crammed between other obligations, or in front of television, has crowded out the relaxing, social experience that mealtimes have historically represented.  
People don't realize that chronic stress and worry generate the same stress hormones that immediate danger does.  For instance, watching violence on television or in the movies stimulates the same adrenaline and corticosteroids that your body would produce if being attacked by a saber-toothed tiger.  Your body doesn't know the difference between imagined danger and real danger.  This wears on all organ systems and ages people quickly.
Dave Volek Added Apr 10, 2018 - 1:29pm
Back in my elementary school, we had a few kids who would diagnosed ADHD today. Instead of doing something about, we just dismissed them as "kids who won't amount to much." And that statement reflected the effort put into those kids. Just put them in a corner with their watered down assignments and not expect them to hand much in. 
Some of these kids managed to overcome this treatment. But many became people who didn't amount to much. Addictions, broken relationships, and poor work habits were normal for these people.
I don't believe for one minute that we had a great way of dealing with mental illness 50 years ago-----and the pharma industry wrecked it.
Katharine Otto Added Apr 10, 2018 - 1:51pm
I think most people love to help, especially if they believe they are doing real good, or if it's appreciated.  However, some people's help can worsen the situation, or it is not appreciated, or it can foster dependency.  It's a delicate balance.  Sometimes if you offer what you believe is needed, it often isn't what's wanted and is rejected.  I've been known to say, "If your way worked, you wouldn't be here."
It grates on my nerves when people ascribe motive.  "You're just doing this because . . ." , but they do it all the time.  Says more about them than you.
I think it's a myth that the mega-rich get better treatment or better cures.  The mega rich can afford to pay for overkill, but they are also prone to get "treated to death."  They are probably more likely to get suckered (not succored) by the medical wizards, but I can't say for sure.  I do know some wealthy people who are especially incensed by the rude treatment they get from medical professionals.  They feel they are entitled to more humane treatment than everyone else and resent that their money doesn't buy respect.
As far as life expectancy goes, I suspect Ian has a grip on part of the elephant, in that chronic stress may hit white American males hardest, because more has been expected from them.  They also expect more from themselves and feel like failures when they don't live up to their own (impossible) standards.  It does seem sad that we don't take better care of our own.  If we did, we'd probably all feel healthier and happier.
I agree with a lot of your opinions about the US and find it sad that so much of the world is following our bad example.  The US is not the only country suffering under mass migrations, but the US is probably stimulating the need for it in other countries, like Sudan  and Syria.  I feel sorry for those people who feel forced to leave their own countries, and sorry for those who have to move over to make room for them.  
From a health care point of view, homelessness is probably the number one contributor to disease everywhere, both mental and physical.  And, as Hanz Zinsser noted in his excellent book, Rats, Lice, and History:  The Biography of a Bacillus, in 1934, the microbes win every war.  Zinsser was the original author of the microbiology text still used in medical schools today.
Stone-Eater Added Apr 10, 2018 - 2:10pm
Thanks. You underlined my point.
George N Romey Added Apr 10, 2018 - 2:14pm
Katharine the reason I’m for guaranteed employment and public health isn’t because I’m a bleeding heart liberal. It’s because healthy minds and bodies and ample vocation lead to stable, productive and happy societies. The “gig” economy mantra and shoving fully capable people out of the workforce is killing us.
Stone-Eater Added Apr 10, 2018 - 2:14pm
I know what you mean. But you see, at 60, I don't give a shit about what people say anymore, and when I get a heart on WhatsApp from my kids and they ask me "Papa when do you come back", I couldn't care less about other people's opinion.
I never gave much about that anyway because to KNOW somebody really takes a lot, if it's even possible, which I doubt. So I see results and enjoy that I could DO something instead of complaining about the world.
And if people tell me it's not YOUR people I ask them which are YOUR people ? Often I get a question mark.
Katharine Otto Added Apr 10, 2018 - 2:16pm
Your long and thoughtful comment deserves a well thought out response, but I can give a brief reply here.  First, I am a fan of Freud (and of Jung) and wish the psychiatric profession paid more attention to his ideas and methods, but it has basically thrown Freud out in favor of medications.  Freud and the early psychiatrists relied on observation, listening, and descriptive reporting to treat their patients.  Now, psychiatrists don't have time to listen, they know next to nothing about Freud or analysis and they have reduced diagnosis to an arbitrary list of so-called symptoms (the DSM-V) that is supposed to be more "scientific."  They are expected to prescribe.
As I mentioned to Stone, above, I believe ADHD kids are often too bright for traditional classrooms and are easily bored.  It's unnatural, according to me, to expect young, healthy children to sit in a classroom box all day long listening to some boring teacher drone on about dry, lifeless subjects.  I remember hands-on subjects like home economics and shop, or even structured sports and physical activity, as being educational, fun, and practical, but these have been squeezed out.
Concerta is an amphetamine, with the same active ingredient as Ritalin.  In the US, amphetamines are so highly controlled that kids have to get prescriptions renewed every month, necessitating a day out from school every month to visit the doctor.  Not only that, the kids are being systematically trained to use drugs to solve problems, and these drugs, in particular, have high street value.  You wonder about the opioid crisis?  Amphetamines are not opiates, but they are in the same class with cocaine, so it's a short hop from one addiction to another.  
I have a lot of respect for what psychiatry could be but am concerned that it has lost its way.  
George N Romey Added Apr 10, 2018 - 2:21pm
I’m without a doubt an AD&D type of person but born well before we knew what it was. I can’t do standard intelligent tests well but can understand complex issues in entirety. Unfortunately this issue has dogged me for life. Sadly with us moving to a “box” driven society creative and big thinkers won’t have much of a place and deemed less worthy. Don’t I know that.
Katharine Otto Added Apr 10, 2018 - 2:47pm
I just saw your last comment.  It's hard to separate cause from effect when it comes to mental illness.  Does a dysfunctional family, or an alcoholic parent, or paternal absence, for instance, cause poor concentration and low performance in school, or is it a result?  There are lots of kids never diagnosed with mental disorders who still do badly in school and in later life.  
My concern is that we're over-diagnosing and labeling people without addressing the crazy-making aspects of society, such as the profit-driven approach to health care.  It thrives on creating and expanding "markets" to sell drugs.  Case in point:  OxyContin, the drug blamed in part for precipitating the "opioid crisis," is manufactured by Purdue Pharma.  In 1952, Purdue Fredrick Co. was purchased by three psychiatrists, brothers, one of whom was a wiz in psychiatric research and pharmaceutical advertising.  In the next few years, Arthur Sackler "positioned" Librium and Valium for Roche and found enough uses for Valium to turn it into the first drug to hit $100 million in revenue.  Now this category, benzodiazepines, constitutes one of the principal mainstays of psychiatric drugs, used for anxiety, sleep, muscle relaxation and to counteract side effects of other medications.  Benzos are also highly addictive and often used in conjunction with opioids by addicts.  And, one-third or more of opioid-related deaths are complicated by concurrent use of benzodiazepines or other drugs, like alcohol and cocaine.  
My question is whether we are better served now by so much fixation on using drugs to suppress symptoms?
Dave Volek Added Apr 10, 2018 - 3:12pm
My question is whether we are better served now by so much fixation on using drugs to suppress symptoms?
The simple answer is "no". When taking any kind of medication, we should be asking "Do we really need it?". And "What are some other ways to control the symptom?" But there comes a time when drugs are better than not taking drugs. 
For illnesses, it has been proven that dealing with the demons in the past helps as well as getting some life strategies to deal with the illness. Unfortunately, too many people opt for the drugs too quickly. And unfortunately, too many people refuse to take them--or any kind of counselling.
I had a friend with some kind of psychiatric disorder. When he was on his meds, he was a pleasant person to be with, lots of fun. When he was off, he could be a bear to deal with. He was able to hold a job, get a wife, and pay off his mortgage. But he died at 55 of heart failure. I'm pretty sure the long-term use of his meds had something to do with his early death. But without them, his quality of life would have been much worse.
In a lot of ways, we are in one big experiment in this field. We will eventually find a better way, but we will probably be following this emphasis on drugs a little longer.
In the meantime, all of us have free will to take part or not--or to what extent.
Katharine Otto Added Apr 10, 2018 - 7:09pm
I agree that we are just feeling our way along, and that includes the psychiatrists and other doctors, too.  That's why it's important to trust common sense and not be unduly swayed by the "experts."  Probably no one knows your son better than you do, and if you believe the Concerta is helping him, then that helps you, too, since it reduces your anxiety.  If you are happier, I guarantee he will be, too.
It occurs me that on a mass level, people have become fascinated with their bodies and how they work.  We've never had the technology to peer inside to this extent, and maybe a good thing about health care insurance is that a broad spectrum of people can see directly or indirectly what's going on inside their skin.
I think it's interesting that part of your son's program involves increased physical activity.  I believe that is key.  Our society tends to focus too much on intellectual activity, and we all need balance.
Katharine Otto Added Apr 10, 2018 - 7:20pm
I can tell you "think outside the box."  I believe that may be coming back in vogue, so don't despair, yet.  For all its pitfalls, the internet is fostering a new era of individuality, opening new frontiers of creativity and communication, at least I hope so.
Pardero Added Apr 10, 2018 - 11:32pm
Katharine Otto,
You mentioned a magazine or another forum?
I am not a medically oriented person, but I enjoy your writing style. If you believe that your other material holds general interest, I would like to know where I can read it.
Katharine Otto Added Apr 11, 2018 - 10:40am
Thank you.  I enjoy your refreshing writing and ideas, too.  You also write on zerohedge.com?  Seems you've mentioned it before.  I have another blog at katharineotto.wordpress.com.  I post there alternately with WB and have been posting there much longer, so there's a lot on a variety of topics.
Pardero Added Apr 11, 2018 - 5:25pm
Katharine Otto,
Thank you! 
My work schedule should prevent me from being a proper correspondent, but I try.
I like everything I have read from you. I will look at your wordpress site.
Your rational voice, that combines head with heart so effectively, is a valuable one.
From my perspective, your writing is sophisticated but accessible. I am grateful that we share some important views.
Sometimes, I may be taken for a bigot or a racist, but I really am not anything close. Some of my views, I would say, are in theory. I treat all people with dignity and respect, and harbor no malice for anyone, except maybe for an annoying co-worker.
If I seem to have cognitive dissonance and disparate beliefs, it could be that I am somewhat torn on ideology. Sometimes, I wonder if I am wildly inconsistent.
Certainly no more so than a pro-life person that advocates for new wars in the Middle East, or a champion of Everyman that wants to take guns away from Everyman but the elites keep their bodyguards and rent-a-cops.
Katharine Otto Added Apr 11, 2018 - 11:14pm
Your praise is especially valuable because I like and respect your views and writing so much, too.  I almost forgot to check this comment because I was reading the long commentary thread on your Syrian False Flag article.  The comments are way over my head but they generally support what I've surmised from my various readings.
I'm so glad to see the range of expertise and mind-expanding discussion here on WB.  I'm glad to be a part of this happening group.
Stone-Eater Added Apr 12, 2018 - 7:28am
As I mentioned to Stone, above, I believe ADHD kids are often too bright for traditional classrooms and are easily bored
My second daughter has an IQ of 132 and was diagnosed ADHD. Unfortunately I was already living separated from them in Africa when I heard that the mother had accepted Ritalin "to cure her". I freaked out about it but had no chance to do anything about it. Later the mother regretted, because she went on to heroin which is a problem until today.
I offered her to come to Africa to cure her off any drugs, but I had no chance because I was only the father who had left, and I was considered of being "not responsible".
But they didn't consider that our work in Africa had cured 3 German kids from heroin and crack THE HARD WAY between 2005 and 2008. 2 weeks in bed and sweating, crying and banging heads. Here it's called torture......but it fucking worked :-)
Stone-Eater Added Apr 12, 2018 - 7:36am
BTW: Katharine 
I went onto your blog. Interesting ! But it asked me to register on my mail address with my real password. That way the provider could get into my mail account. Hmmmmmmm.......so I stayed away. But you can register me yourself by using my mail jurg.friedli@afronum.com and tell me the password by mail.
Stone-Eater Added Apr 12, 2018 - 7:39am
Read above message, people who complain that I use a pseudonym here on WB, ok ? LOL
Katharine Otto Added Apr 12, 2018 - 12:17pm
Sorry about your daughter.  Sometimes, I hate being right, but your story gives me more ammunition against this insanity.  What can these people be thinking?  That's the crux of my issue with psychiatry:  the so-called "healers of the mind" have more obligation than anyone to understand what they are dealing with, yet they are blindly following agendas that work against mental health.  The blind leading the blind.
Thanks, also, for checking into my WordPress blog.  I didn't know about their wanting you to register.  I will try to register for you but have never done it before so hope it works.  I don't remember having to give them my password when signing up.  I wouldn't have done it, either.  Seems I used a different password but have changed passwords on e-mail and WordPress many times.
You use your real last name, so I don't call that a pseudonym, just a nick-name.  I have been curious about "Stone-Eater," though.  I think of the Roman god Saturn, who swallowed his children.  When Jupiter was born, Saturn's wife, Rhea, gave him a rock instead, so Jupiter was spared.  I've written a spoof about that.  Should post it sometime.

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