Sunday, 25 November 2007

Out of the frying pan into the fire - or: Out of one abuse into another

They are in ecstasies on Funen (an island, one of the three major geographic parts of Denmark): 7 out of 10 alcoholics stop drinking when treated by the Alkoholbehandlingscenter Fyn. For, among other things, this advanced treatment center sends alcoholics to a psychiatrist. As we all know, many addicts are "mentally ill", so their addiction can and has to be viewed as self-medication.

So, the alcoholics are sent to a psychiatrist who then, of course, will find one or another diagnosis to label the person with. Preferably "anxiety" or "depression". Well, and after the person is diagnosed, "treatment" in the shape of psych drugs needs to get started. The sooner the better. The consumption of these pills, of course, is not termed "abuse" but "treatment", even if their effect by and large is just the same as the effect of alcohol: They influence an individuals state of mind by creating an imbalance in brain chemistry, and thus they see to that the individual is no longer capable of sensing himself and his emotional reactions as he'd be in an uninfluenced condition.

The pills are called "medicine" even though most psych drugs, especially benzodiazepines, are far more addictive than recreational drugs like cannabis, heroin, cocaine and, well, alcohol, and often cause severe withdrawal symptoms, as soon as you, against psychiatry's urgent request to stay on them for the rest of your life, try to quit them. Heroin, yah. Indeed, it is easier to quit heroin than to quit most psych drugs.

The pills are called "medicine" even though all psych drugs, just like synthetic processed recreational drugs like Ecstasy, cause brain shrinkage and cell death on a long-term basis, and to, at least, the same if not a greater extent than alcohol e.g. But this is of course the intended effect, as it is with all psychiatric "treatment".

The advantage of psychiatrically prescribed pill-abuse to self-determined, private alcohol-abuse is that the psychiatrically prescribed version of abuse through the public institution psychiatry provides total control of the individual's abuse, and thereby of the individual himself, to society. Something which can't be said of a private alcohol or drug abuse.

The advantage for the abusing individual is that the coveted, self-anaesthetizing effect doesn't cost the individual half of the money an alcohol- or drug-abuse would cost him, if achieved with the help of prescribed pills. Health insurance pays, up to nearly the whole price, depending on the individual's private economy.

Out of private into state sponsored (and controlled) abuse. Truly a great success! As they call it on Funen.

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