In these great times, it appears that the pharmaceutical companies are winning their battle to transform our personhoods into our diseases, our disorders and our conditions, ones which they have just the pill to treat – for the price.
In fact, if big pharma has its way, the difference between a personality trait and a disorder will disappear. It’s ironic because by now the biological/chemical basis of emotional disorders has been questioned by everyone but its official custodians: the pharmaceutical companies and the mental health care industry – those who make their living off of it, to put it bluntly. It’s similar to the vested interest the tobacco industry has in promoting cancer cigarettes. So long as that’s true, no critique of their wholly unfounded claims that bi-polar disorder, attention deficit disorder or depression (I’m leaving plenty out) are diseases of the blood or the brain are likely to make much headway. The puzzle is that most people aren’t interested in knowing that they, like the earlier high-flying psychic junta of id, ego and superego are neither discoveries or mistakes or things, but fabrications and inventions
It certainly looks like we’re plunging down the road to the medicalization of personality. The essence of our souls is being turned into a cluster of symptoms. The pace quickened in the last two decades or so and got flat-out whirlwind since 1997, the year drug companies were allowed by the FDA to directly advertise to consumers. How much longer till we’re no longer a bunch of personality traits that make up our unique selves? What’s next? Will health itself become a treatable condition? A former Merck CEO once said that he dreamed of the day when drugs would be made for healthy people because then Merck would be able to sell to everyone. He really said that.
I can almost see the billboard ad: “Feeling great? Don’t let it get you down. We have just the pill for you.”