WHEN THE CURE BECOMES PART OF THE PROBLEM

 

I have been watching interviews with a Canadian kidney specialist called Dr Jason Fung about the diabetes epidemic in the western world. He argues that the mainstream cure of diabetes is part of the problem. He puts a pretty strong case.

Fung compares the progress of diabetes treatment to computers. A mobile phone today has ten times the computing power of a computer the size of a room in the 1960s. By comparison, if we imagine that the diabetes problem in the 1960s took up the space of a room, then it takes up an entire office block today. In other words, we have gone backwards.

It is the same with anxiety. Governments and the mental health system throw more and more money at anxiety, but the problem keeps getting bigger. Perhaps the cure is part of the problem.

We no longer tolerate normal sadness or discomfort in our lives. Patients demand medication for their unhappiness, and doctors prescribe it. But medication frequently makes things worse by either excessive sedation or by the opposite: increasing mental agitation. In 25 years of practice, I have never seen a case where medication leads to long-term recovery.

I dream of a world where we have the wisdom to come to terms with the things that make us sad without reaching for a prescription. That way we might have the mental clarity to learn from our experiences and make some true progress on anxiety recovery.

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