Big Brother in the Waiting Room
Peter R. Breggin, M.D " Live Like an American!”
Radio Report No. 29 on the Savage NationAugust 10, 2009
Audio available on www.breggin.com
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I went to a private medical clinic a few days ago, sat down in the waiting room, and found myself in a state of the art home theater with a flat screen TV on the wall and very comfy chairs neatly arranged for good viewing. CNN’s medical expert Sanjay Gupta was talking to me in his unctuous way about Adult ADHD. Then a smooth lady psychiatrist from Harvard told us about the symptoms of Adult ADHD—things like having trouble concentrating, a short attention span, and procrastinating. These of course are the ways most people behave when they don’t want to do what they are doing.
The “balanced” presentation ended up flashing vivid pictures of pill bottles. First came a batch of three: Ritalin, Concerta and Adderall. Brand names were mentioned. But no one came on screen to say that these are highly addictive chemicals classified among the most dangerous narcotics by the DEA. Never mind they make young people prone to cocaine abuse in later years, cause sudden cardiac death in young people, and stunt growth. Never mind that they have no proven benefits beyond suppressing all spontaneous behavior for a few weeks. Then they flashed a bottle of Strattera on the screen and called it a “non-stimulant” for the treatment of ADHD, when it’s one of the more stimulating drugs around town. Not to mention it has a black box warning about causing suicide.
It used to be that the pharmaceutical company salespersons had to wait patiently beside us in the waiting room before getting to the doctors. Or they had to buy lunch for the whole clinic. Now they pop into the office, go to the digital video hanging on the wall, and insert a new promotional DVD. The drug ads get into the heads of the patients before they even see their doctors.
How do they get away with touting these drugs to the public without the required and ethically necessary warnings? Where are the FDA watchdogs when you need them? Where they usually are—peaking out of the backside pants pocket of the drug companies. Any why are the drug companies targeting young adults right now? I think it’s because “young adults” are getting ready to go back to college where the illegal use of these same drugs is pandemic. Stimulant drugs enforce compulsivity and cause insomnia, so they help students cram all night for tests. Recreationally, students mix these drugs with alcohol, making a dangerous cocktail of uppers and downers. These waiting room ads with their lists of ADHD symptoms prime the youngsters to say the right thing moments later in the doctor’s office—to say the right that will get them a prescription for these dangerous drugs, whether for their own use, or for sharing or selling.
This sounds a little like 1984—Big Brother propaganda in the waiting room—but it’s happening in the doctors’ offices around the country—thousands of them. Imagine what it will be like under socialized medicine when Barak Obama looks at us from the screen and explains how we’ve got to start rationing our medical care. He will urge old guys like me not to use up so many medical resources. Minutes before we see the doctor, he will discourage from asking for expensive treatments. Progressives view our aging citizens the way they view our supposedly aging American economy—as a burden on the rest of humanity. I’d like to see a waiting room rebellion—patient’s standing up to demand good old-fashioned TV like the Fox News Channel or even CNN, and maybe a remote to change the stations when they want.
Meanwhile, it’s not just the waiting room that’s going digital. It’s our private medical records under national health care. Right now around the country people are being forced by their state governments to take psychiatric drugs. It’s called outpatient commitment. Demoralized patients call me asking how they can stop their state officials from coming into their homes to shoot them up with long-lasting mind-destroying antipsychotic drugs. There’s even an underground railroad for helping these poor souls to escape to new places to live.
Under socialized medicine, even more people be forced to take treatments they don’t want. Enforced preventative treatment fits the public health aims of socialized medicine. A shy boy or girl will be diagnosed as pre-schizophrenic and forced to take ruinous antipsychotic drugs. There’s already talk of this in the scientific literature. Eventually people may be forced to take prescribed treatments for their cholesterol, blood pressure, or diabetes.
Meanwhile, if you’re labeled with a stigmatizing diagnosis or forced to take treatment, there will be no place to escape under universal health care with universal record keeping. You will drag your medical record behind you like a digital ball and chain. So, let’s keep the government out of medicine and the pharmaceutical companies out of our waiting rooms.
That brings me as always to my refrain to my weekly radio reports on Savage Nation:
Protect freedom. Take responsibility at all time. Express gratitude for all your gifts and opportunities. Become a source of love.This is psychiatrist Peter Breggin urging you to “Live Like an American!” You can listen to and download the transcripts for all of my Savage Nation radio reports at www.breggin.com. You can contact me at