The depression conspiracy

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We are being recruited into mental illness faster than the speed of light. The trouble with mental illness is that it is not measles; it is whatever a psychiatrist or psychologist says it is. The Justice department recently stated that people who are swindled by telemarketing fraud and other white collar crimes can develop post-traumatic stress disorder that may require psychiatric intervention. The National Institute of Mental Health recently launched a national television and radio advertising campaign to encourage more people to seek treatment for anxiety disorders, such as social phobia, which the agency described as "frightening mental illnesses" affecting 19 million Americans.

When its new drug Paxil sowed success in treating severe shyness, the pharmaceutical company SmithKline Beecham decided to fund "public service" announcements in a "patient-education" campaign about social phobia to appear on billboards and at bus stops in several major cities. Another patient-education campaign was started in 1994 by Upjohn, in partnership with the Belgian pharmaceutical company Solvay. It was a careful strategy to raise pubic awareness of obsessive-compulsive disorder in order to stir a demand for their new drug Luvox as a cure for it. To that end, brochures began to appear in doctors' offices, and doctors' discussions of the "disease" began to take place on television talk shows and in news releases. Successful patients on Luvox were coached by public relations firms in advance of their talk-show appearances.

Upjohn approached Robert Dupont, a prominent Geogetown University psychiatrist and former head of the National Institute on Drug abuse, to do a research study of obsessive-disorder. Dupont's helpful conclusion: OCD, panic disorder, and phobias cost the U.S. economy $46.6 billion in 1990.

Depression is a Choice: Winning the Battle Without Drugs, A.B. Curtiss

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