In Which I Try To Make Todd Krohn Mad

So the ASA posted this infographic in its Facebook feed:

So, dear ASA, you disappoint me.

Aren’t we, sociologists, supposed to exercise some skepticism and critical thinking regarding the labeling of individuals with mental illness? Aren’t we supposed to examine the social construction of these “objective” categorizations of symptoms into neat clinical diagnoses, with corresponding pharmacological treatments?

I mean, it has only been a month since Thomas Szasz died, but have we forgotten his legacy so quickly?

Could we at least pay lip service to the medicalization of deviance?

Take this post, just today, by Todd Krohn, over at The Power Elite (Todd is all over that medicalization of deviance stuff):

ADD Or Not, Pills Prescribed In Schools:

CANTON, Ga. — When Dr. Michael Anderson hears about his low-income patients struggling in elementary school, he usually gives them a taste of some powerful medicine: Adderall.

The pills boost focus and impulse control in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Although A.D.H.D is the diagnosis Dr. Anderson makes, he calls the disorder “made up” and “an excuse” to prescribe the pills to treat what he considers the children’s true ill — poor academic performance in inadequate schools.
“I don’t have a whole lot of choice,” said Dr. Anderson, a pediatrician for many poor families in Cherokee County, north of Atlanta. “We’ve decided as a society that it’s too expensive to modify the kid’s environment. So we have to modify the kid.”
Dr. Anderson is one of the more outspoken proponents of an idea that is gaining interest among some physicians. They are prescribing stimulants to struggling students in schools starved of extra money — not to treat A.D.H.D., necessarily, but to boost their academic performance.

In other words, since the rich kids are using these drugs to cheat, let’s give the low-income kids a fair shot at cheating too.

Someone should ask this doofus how this differs from performance enhancing drugs (PED’s) in athletics. Because frankly, there is none.

So what’s really going on here?

“We as a society have been unwilling to invest in very effective nonpharmaceutical interventions for these children and their families,” said Dr. Ramesh Raghavan, a child mental-health services researcher at Washington University in St. Louis and an expert in prescription drug use among low-income children. “We are effectively forcing local community psychiatrists to use the only tool at their disposal, which is psychotropic medications.”
Dr. Nancy Rappaport, a child psychiatrist in Cambridge, Mass., who works primarily with lower-income children and their schools, added: “We are seeing this more and more. We are using a chemical straitjacket instead of doing things that are just as important to also do, sometimes more.”
Chemical straightjacket, perhaps, but I prefer Chemical Shackles, because this has nothing to do with enhancing performance in school and everything to do with drugging the next generation of kids into complacency.”

Go read the whole thing.

But I “love” that last statistics on the infographic: “70 to 90% of those who receive pharmacological and psychosocial treatment have significant reduction of symptoms and increase quality of life.” I guess that settles it.

So, ASA,

2 thoughts on “In Which I Try To Make Todd Krohn Mad

  1. Great post! That the ASA would link this unquestioningly isn’t surprising. Labeling theory is dead in the discipline, as far as I can tell. Heaven forbid someone should challenge the spigot of funding which flows from Big Pharma to higher ed in general.

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