EUGENIA TSAO: The Drug Barons’ Campaign to Make Us All Crazy

. . . . We are at a strange point in history. It should come as no surprise that the exhausting and alienating conditions in which we live and labor are productive of myriad forms of psychological suffering. Yet, critics of biological psychiatry are commonly subjected to the fallacious accusation that, because we reject the equation of unhappiness with sickness, we must believe that it is a weakness. This is a false dichotomy. Is it so difficult to understand the pain engendered by life under neoliberal capitalism as something worthy of dignified reflection, irreducible to either sickness or weakness? Is it so hard to grasp that to detrivialize the social conditions that give rise to despair or the ideologies that equate difference with disease is not to trivialize despair or difference?

Let’s be candid. The drug barons’ ongoing campaign to pathologize entirely natural emotional responses to hunger, humiliation, financial insecurity, racism, sexism, overwork and isolation is a mercenary tactic, designed to create markets, maximize profits and minimize dissidence. Whether intended or unintended, the consequence is that we have come to reflexively view ourselves – our bodies, brains, and genes – rather than our societal environment as pathogenic, against all evidence to the contrary. As the DSM-V looms, we have to explore the dire implications of this trend and contintue to raise the alarm.


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