Take your Sit Down and Shut Up pill!

Postby Tychomonger » Mon Jan 28, 2008 1:08 pm

Bruce E. Levine, AlterNet wrote:How Teenage Rebellion Has Become a Mental Illness

For a generation now, disruptive young Americans who rebel against authority figures have been increasingly diagnosed with mental illnesses and medicated with psychiatric (psychotropic) drugs.

Disruptive young people who are medicated with Ritalin, Adderall and other amphetamines routinely report that these drugs make them "care less" about their boredom, resentments and other negative emotions, thus making them more compliant and manageable. And so-called atypical antipsychotics such as Risperdal and Zyprexa -- powerful tranquilizing drugs -- are increasingly prescribed to disruptive young Americans, even though in most cases they are not displaying any psychotic symptoms.

Many talk show hosts think I'm kidding when I mention oppositional defiant disorder (ODD). After I assure them that ODD is in fact an official mental illness -- an increasingly popular diagnosis for children and teenagers -- they often guess that ODD is simply a new term for juvenile delinquency. But that is not the case.

Young people diagnosed with ODD, by definition, are doing nothing illegal (illegal behaviors are a symptom of another mental illness called conduct disorder). In 1980, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) created oppositional defiant disorder, defining it as "a pattern of negativistic, hostile and defiant behavior." The official symptoms of ODD include "often actively defies or refuses to comply with adult requests or rules" and "often argues with adults." While ODD-diagnosed young people are obnoxious with adults they don't respect, these kids can be a delight with adults they do respect; yet many of them are medicated with psychotropic drugs.

An even more common reaction to oppressive authorities than overt defiance is some type of passive defiance.

John Holt, the late school critic, described passive-aggressive strategies employed by prisoners in concentration camps and slaves on plantations, as well as some children in classrooms. Holt pointed out that subjects may attempt to appease their rulers while still satisfying some part of their own desire for dignity "by putting on a mask, by acting much more stupid and incompetent than they really are, by denying their rulers the full use of their intelligence and ability, by declaring their minds and spirits free of their enslaved bodies."

Holt observed that by "going stupid" in a classroom, children frustrate authorities through withdrawing the most intelligent and creative parts of their minds from the scene, thus achieving some sense of potency.

Going stupid -- or passive aggression -- is one of many nondisease explanations for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Studies show that virtually all ADHD-diagnosed children will pay attention to activities that they enjoy or that they have chosen. In other words, when ADHD-labeled kids are having a good time and in control, the "disease" goes away.

There are other passive rebellions against authority that have been medicalized by mental health authorities. I have talked to many people who earlier in their lives had been diagnosed with substance abuse, depression and even schizophrenia but believe that their "symptoms" had in fact been a kind of resistance to the demands of an oppressive environment. Some of these people now call themselves psychiatric survivors.

While there are several reasons for behavioral disruptiveness and emotional difficulties, rebellion against an oppressive environment is one common reason that is routinely not even considered by many mental health professionals. Why? It is my experience that many mental health professionals are unaware of how extremely obedient they are to authorities. Acceptance into medical school and graduate school and achieving a Ph.D. or M.D. means jumping through many meaningless hoops, all of which require much behavioral, attentional and emotional compliance to authorities -- even disrespected ones. When compliant M.D.s and Ph.D.s begin seeing noncompliant patients, many of these doctors become anxious, sometimes even ashamed of their own excessive compliance, and this anxiety and shame can be fuel for diseasing normal human reactions.

Two ways of subduing defiance are to criminalize it and to pathologize it, and U.S. history is replete with examples of both. In the same era that John Adams' Sedition Act criminalized criticism of U.S. governmental policy, Dr. Benjamin Rush, the father of American psychiatry (his image adorns the APA seal), pathologized anti-authoritarianism. Rush diagnosed those rebelling against a centralized federal authority as having an "excess of the passion for liberty" that "constituted a form of insanity." He labeled this illness "anarchia."

Throughout American history, both direct and indirect resistance to authority has been diseased. In an 1851 article in the New Orleans Medical and Surgical Journal, Louisiana physician Samuel Cartwright reported his discovery of "drapetomania," the disease that caused slaves to flee captivity. Cartwright also reported his discovery of "dysaesthesia aethiopis," the disease that caused slaves to pay insufficient attention to the master's needs. Early versions of ODD and ADHD?

In Rush's lifetime, few Americans took anarchia seriously, nor was drapetomania or dysaesthesia aethiopis taken seriously in Cartwright's lifetime. But these were eras before the diseasing of defiance had a powerful financial ally in Big Pharma.

In every generation there will be authoritarians. There will also be the "bohemian bourgeois" who may enjoy anti-authoritarian books, music, and movies but don't act on them. And there will be genuine anti-authoritarians, who are so pained by exploitive hierarchies that they take action. Only occasionally in American history do these genuine anti-authoritarians actually take effective direct action that inspires others to successfully revolt, but every once in a while a Tom Paine comes along. So authoritarians take no chances, and the state-corporate partnership criminalizes anti-authoritarianism, pathologizes it, markets drugs to "cure" it and financially intimidates those who might buck the system.

It would certainly be a dream of Big Pharma and those who favor an authoritarian society if every would-be Tom Paine -- or Crazy Horse, Tecumseh, Emma Goldman or Malcolm X -- were diagnosed as a youngster with mental illness and quieted with a lifelong regimen of chill pills. The question is: Has this dream become reality?
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Re: Take your Sit Down and Shut Up pill!

Postby draque » Mon Jan 28, 2008 1:19 pm

Huh... that's a very interesting article. I've been a proponent of exclusive self medication in the realms of all drugs psychoactive for quite some time, and the points made in the article take many of my opinions and express them more clearly than I've been able to in the past. I was lucky enough to have parents that didn't feel the need to medicate me into a stupor of compliance... but it's becoming disturbingly common these days. I'm curious how a generation of people taught never to make their own decisions will operate once they hit the real world.
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Re: Take your Sit Down and Shut Up pill!

Postby Anna » Mon Jan 28, 2008 1:30 pm

I think there's a danger but not that much if you wait for an "angry messiah".
He will come from the poor class without money.
He will grow up without the possibility that teachers are "good" enough to tell the parents that their kid needs a doctor who will give pills. (And the parents don't have the money to pay)
And... He will come from other countries than the USA.
So the rich class will calm themself down!
But beware if someone stops the medication, - President Bush is dry, dry enough to became President, and with impressive results as we all know...

he he he...
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Re: Take your Sit Down and Shut Up pill!

Postby strange_person » Mon Jan 28, 2008 6:21 pm

Last edited by strange_person on Tue Jan 29, 2008 11:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Take your Sit Down and Shut Up pill!

Postby Alfador » Tue Jan 29, 2008 12:11 pm

Going stupid -- or passive aggression -- is one of many nondisease explanations for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Studies show that virtually all ADHD-diagnosed children will pay attention to activities that they enjoy or that they have chosen. In other words, when ADHD-labeled kids are having a good time and in control, the "disease" goes away.


This is why
a) I would sit at a computer for hours staring at a blank screen instead of churning out a boring umpteen-page essay... yet will happily spend those same hours level-grinding away at an RPG.
b) I finally threw out those damn pills in my senior year of high school, despite the "doctor knows best" anxiety of my mom. I'm honestly surprised now that they didn't try harder to get me back on the Ritalin. I guess the respect my mom has for me overcame her desire to see me get a 4.0 GPA and everything.
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Re: Take your Sit Down and Shut Up pill!

Postby SilverFeathers » Tue Jan 29, 2008 1:17 pm

My parents' only concern with me growing up was my insatiable taste for the macabre (hey, they're the ones who let me start watching horror and the like at the age of 5 (when the hell is Tales from the Darkside the series coming out on DVD proper, anyway..?)). They figured I'd just grow out of it, though. Although the comment made during my early teenage years at some stupid movie we were watching together of "If someone doesn't die badly really soon, I'm leaving" unnerved them a bit.

I got called into the guidance counselor once to discuss my "plans for the future" He said he heard from someone I planned to grow up to be a serial killer. I, in my irritation, snapped back that it wasn't true, but when I found out who was spreading rumors, I was going to kill them all. I believe his response was "oookay..." and I was free to go.

He never called me back again, you know...

True story.

This was way pre-Columbine, else I don't think the walking out so easily would have happened. And, no, I wouldn't have actually killed them. Snarled at impressively, but not killed. Besides, that would have made me a mass murderer/spree killer. Not a serial killer. Wedge of separation there.

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Re: Take your Sit Down and Shut Up pill!

Postby Alfador » Tue Jan 29, 2008 1:24 pm

Oh cute! But you know what's cuter?

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Re: Take your Sit Down and Shut Up pill!

Postby Alikat » Tue Jan 29, 2008 6:07 pm

I was in one of the very first runs of prescribing Ritalin to children who were what they called in those days (1968) "Hyperkinetic." I was also tested at just over 150 IQ a year or so before, and skipped up a grade. But the Ritalin turned me into a compliant zombie, I didn't actually do any school work, but I kept still and quiet, and that was good enough. I sat in the classroom in my seat and used little slivers of glass I'd picked up on the way to school that morning (shiny!) to carefully cut any paper that they put on my desk into long, elaborate curly strips. Thoughts sort of squeezed themselves into my head, one by one, slowly.

I despise Ritalin, the entire concept of ADHD, and anything to do with school psychologists, pediatric psychiatry in general, and any policy of enforced conformity. If this society requires passive drugged children to sit in rows listening to indoctrinating lectures, then it does not deserve to survive.
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Re: Take your Sit Down and Shut Up pill!

Postby Relee » Tue Jan 29, 2008 6:37 pm

The public school system wasn't designed to uplift kids, it was designed to train them to be obedient factory workers. This isn't some crackpot theory either, they weren't exactly secret about it. Anybody can read the documents regarding the foundations and intentions of the public school system, which still persist to this day.

The problem is, back when they came up with it everybody was a factory worker. Then robotization came and suddenly a five hundred man job became a two man job. The world needs inventors, artists, and entrepenurs at this stage, and we're still busy brainwashing everyone into worker-drones.
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Re: Take your Sit Down and Shut Up pill!

Postby Idiot Glee » Tue Jan 29, 2008 9:21 pm

They tried to medicate me at one point. My father came within an inch of just pulling me and homeschooling me when they did. Later when I transferred to another school and wasn't being maliciously bullied by about half the class (and ignored out of fear of ostracism by the rest), I felt better, grades went up, I didn't cuss out the piece of shit teachers who kept such lax discipline that to maintain sanity I had to maintain the cold demeanor of psychopath just to keep from collapsing in fear. Maybe if they just maintained a little fucking discipline and kept the students from beating each other senseless and from playing sadistic mind games, maybe then they wouldn't have to drug everyone!

What is it? Maslow's hierarchy of needs? Here we are: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Masl ... _needs.svg

They're so fucking busy pumping everyones goddamn head with that self esteem nonsense they can't even keep the bloody places safe!
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Re: Take your Sit Down and Shut Up pill!

Postby strange_person » Wed Jan 30, 2008 12:04 am

Alikat wrote:I despise Ritalin, the entire concept of ADHD,

Problem. There are people who actually have an actual mental thingie that actually keeps them from functioning up to spec, and which is actually aided by treatment with ritalin.

An acquaintance of mine, based on personal experiences, once suggested that the drug itself could be used as a diagnostic tool. Hyper, distractible kid takes ritalin, likes it, starts functioning better? ADHD. Give 'em a prescription. Same initial symptoms, takes the pill, turns into a zombie? Just bored. Skip the meds and find 'em something to do.
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Re: Take your Sit Down and Shut Up pill!

Postby Idiot Glee » Wed Jan 30, 2008 12:24 am

Thing is, that's pretty much what they do. They give so many people Ritalin to shut em up, and the parents end up having to take them off to keep the kids sane. Seriously, look at the class, ask yourself this: "What factors in this child's class make it hard for the child to function?" Alot of the time just getting the kids to stop running a petty little jail yard culture and you fix the problems.
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Re: Take your Sit Down and Shut Up pill!

Postby InterNutter » Wed Jan 30, 2008 2:14 pm

I think the real core of the problem is that pills are too easy. Which would you, as an over-worked, under-paid teacher/babysitter rather do: invest time and effort into analysis and proper diagnosis, or give all the squeaky wheels pills that turn them docile?

Pass the docility pills, Maurice.

It doesn't matter if the kids aren't learning as a direct result of being chemically docile... just that they're tractable enough to ignore, so the teacher/babysitter can get on with their work.

They're not paid enough to give a shit. Some of them never will be.
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Re: Take your Sit Down and Shut Up pill!

Postby Monocheres » Wed Jan 30, 2008 4:55 pm

InterNutter wrote:They're not paid enough to give a shit. Some of them never will be.


Isn't the average state outlay per child some huge amount, like $10K? Let's see:

15 children/teacher * $10K/yr = $150K - 50% overhead = $75K

20 children/teacher * $10K/yr = $200K - 50% overhead = $100K

So teachers should be getting six-figure incomes, right? But let me guess, they don't, huh? So where does all that money go? Corrupt top-heavy bureaucracies?

And don't the D.C. public schools get $20K per child? And they're the crappiest schools in the country?
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Re: Take your Sit Down and Shut Up pill!

Postby Tychomonger » Wed Jan 30, 2008 5:50 pm

There is probably a lot of unnecessary bureaucracy, but even if there weren't, there is a lot more overhead in running a school than just paying the teachers. They also have to upkeep the building, hire staff to keep it in working order, purchase computers and other learning supplies, purchase food for lunch, and other things like heating and electricity bills.
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Re: Take your Sit Down and Shut Up pill!

Postby Monocheres » Wed Jan 30, 2008 6:49 pm

Tychomonger wrote:There is probably a lot of unnecessary bureaucracy, but even if there weren't, there is a lot more overhead in running a school than just paying the teachers. They also have to upkeep the building, hire staff to keep it in working order, purchase computers and other learning supplies, purchase food for lunch, and other things like heating and electricity bills.


Yeah but how is that different from any other big business? I accounted for 50% overhead, which is about standard where I work. Would a school's overhead be higher than that?
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Re: Take your Sit Down and Shut Up pill!

Postby Alikat » Wed Jan 30, 2008 6:56 pm

strange_person wrote:Problem. There are people who actually have an actual mental thingie that actually keeps them from functioning up to spec, and which is actually aided by treatment with ritalin.

An acquaintance of mine, based on personal experiences, once suggested that the drug itself could be used as a diagnostic tool. Hyper, distractible kid takes ritalin, likes it, starts functioning better? ADHD. Give 'em a prescription. Same initial symptoms, takes the pill, turns into a zombie? Just bored. Skip the meds and find 'em something to do.

Sorry, but I don't believe it's real. ADHD is a psychiatric fad, like Freudian psychoanalysis or Rorshach tests. It's fashionable to blame our misbehavior on some medical condition. I wasn't mentally ill, I was just a fucking brat. But I was a SMART brat, and my intelligence was diminished by the pills, not enhanced. I didn't learn MORE on Ritalin, I learned LESS, but I was easier to handle and that's all that counted. I would have literally been better off simply being sent home to learn on my own, but we don't allow that sort of sensible behavior, we have to drug the livelier kids into quieted-down less-active hunks of passive meat, chair-warmers whose only real function is to afford another few thousand dollars per year to the school's district for their regular attendance.

I don't thinjk that experimenting on living human beings, especially children, with powerful psychiatric drugs is as good of an idea as you seem to think it is. Why not toss them a needle and some heroin and see if THAT helps? Why stop at giving them super-strong amphetamines like Ritalin?
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Re: Take your Sit Down and Shut Up pill!

Postby Wizard CaT » Wed Jan 30, 2008 7:21 pm

Not to be insensitive, but just because you were mis-medicated doesn't mean the problem doesn't exist.
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Re: Take your Sit Down and Shut Up pill!

Postby Alfador » Wed Jan 30, 2008 7:38 pm

strange_person wrote:
Alikat wrote:I despise Ritalin, the entire concept of ADHD,

Problem. There are people who actually have an actual mental thingie that actually keeps them from functioning up to spec, and which is actually aided by treatment with ritalin.

An acquaintance of mine, based on personal experiences, once suggested that the drug itself could be used as a diagnostic tool. Hyper, distractible kid takes ritalin, likes it, starts functioning better? ADHD. Give 'em a prescription. Same initial symptoms, takes the pill, turns into a zombie? Just bored. Skip the meds and find 'em something to do.


Yeah, the problem with that is that said zombie-ism is very easy to mistake for "functioning better" when the measuring scale is public school. I turned into a right little schoolwork zealot until my senior year... then later on in college I got checked up by a neuropsychologist at the UW Medical Center and she said "Actually, you don't have ADHD, you have mild Asperger's, and you really shouldn't have been on Ritalin all those years." Whoopsie! (She also tacked on "Central Nervous Disorder, unspecified" because there were some other things about me that didn't quite fit with Asperger's, and she wanted to cover her ass apparently.)

...Either way, I've had it up to here with psychotropic medications. From here on out (earlier on, actually), the only mind-altering substances I take will be purely recreational and nowhere near on a regular basis. I directly compare daily dosage of Ritalin to boozing it up every evening, and will avoid both. #_#
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Re: Take your Sit Down and Shut Up pill!

Postby Alfador » Wed Jan 30, 2008 7:41 pm

Wizard CaT wrote:Not to be insensitive, but just because you were mis-medicated doesn't mean the problem doesn't exist.


True. It's just so much rarer than all the doctors say, that the many misdiagnosed people are going to be certain that the cake is a lie, since they never saw it.
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