In my last blog I discussed industries (yes, ENTIRE indsustries) that profit from your pain. This time I want to talk about industries that profit from you being sick.
If you have met me for more than about 5 minutes, you probably know that I love to laugh and watch/listen to comedy. One of my favorite comedians, Chris Rock said years ago in one of his special’s “the money’s in the medicine.” Meaning that big pharma is not incentavized to cure things because if you are cured you don’t need continued treatment (drugs) but if you are ‘gettig treatment’ you have to keep buying medication. And he was right!
The Diagnostic and Stastical Manual (DSM) is what we in the US use to come up with standardized laungage for mental health disorders. It’s basically the industry standard for how we diagnose people. Makes sense, right? It’s a way to standardize care… In theory.
Like many really good ideas, it started out pretty simply and then took on a life of it’s own. We are currently on the fifth official revision (there have been other modifications along the way) and over the years, it has changed with the times. Some of the shifts have come from more research and perspectives like better and/or different treatment recommendations and outcomes. Others have come from a better understanding of nuerology and how the body works.
Most of the people on the board of the DSM, the decision makesrs, are psychiatrists. That doesn’t seem ground breaking. In fact, that should make sense. In theory, psychiatrists are doing the bulk of the diagnosing, leading research and treatment. Would your opinion change at all if it I told you that most of the board members received some form of income from pharmasuitical companies? Because they do. Almost all of the board members for the current DSM are in the pocket of big pharma. So it should also not surprise you that there were A LOT of changes from DSM IV-TR (the last one) to the current DSM V.
So basically, the pharmaceutical companies that make money each time one of us is told we have a disorder and are handed a prescription wrote THE BOOK on how to define disorders.
Big pharma does it but they are the only ones… Remember 20-25 years ago when you couldn’t watch the news without seeing something about how a tabacco company hid studies about making us sick? It’s still happending! Pharmasuitical companies, the food industry are all spending BILLIONS of dollars to keep us hooked on their products.
I’ll be honest, until I few years ago I paid zero attention to sugar but now I see that it’s in just about everything. Why is it in my bacon?!?!?! But the sugar industry much like the pharmasuical industry has lied, cheated and solen their way into our homes and bodies. They have hidden studies that did not paint sugar in a good light, they have skewed research results in order to make their product not seem so bad when it is actaully making a lot of us ill.
So do pharmasuitical companies. Did you know that in order to get a drug approved by the FDA you only have to present three research studies? Which means, if I have a drug that I want to get out on the market and I do fifty studies but three of them and I can design and skew to make it look useful, I can get it approved. After that, I can spend money to ‘train’ and ‘educate’ physicians (both psychiatirsts and PCPs) on how to prescribe it and air commericals for you during your favorite show about when you need it!!
But more than that, they have created a system that tells us how to be and stay sick. And that should make us all angry.
I’m not saying that I don’t believe that mental illness exhists, I do. What I am saying is that we are all being sold on the idea that there is a cure or even a problem where there may not actaully be one!!
There has been some really interesting research to suggest that symtoms of austism can be mittigated and for some even eliminated with gut health improvments!! It’s difficult to get that reseach funded and you certainly don’t hear about that stuff in the news often… Why is that? Well, the news is free for us to watch. They get paid by selling comercials. If the news busts big pharma and big food for keeping us sick each night, they will lose advertisers. So they aren’t going to tell you…
So technically, the media is in on the scam too. They can’t present us with totally unbiased information and continue to do business as they have.
Culturally, we have gotten to a mindset that tells us there is a solution for everything and it can be done quickly. I suppose I believe that there is a solution to most things... But how many really good, special and worthwhile things have happened in your life that were quick and simple? I’m guessing not that many. Most things, including physical and mental health are a process and take more than one step. Also, rarely have I found that one size fits all so you may not be able to do what the people around you are doing to get the same results.... You may have do experiment and do something different to find what works for YOU.
As always, I’m here and ready to talk if you need support.
I mean the question pretty littlerally. Who makes money when you feel badly?
To be honest, the list is pretty long. There are not a lot of businesses that lift you up for profits. Or perhaps more to the point, they seek to keep you down.
From time to time, I will chuckle with my other therapists friends that if you and I work really hard together, eventually you will not need me…. And that is the goal! I can’t think of another industry like that. Even if I had a lot of problems with my teeth, ranging from orthadotia issues to needing root canals and gum work, once my dentist (and orthodontist) got me squared away, I would still require maintenance work. That isn’t to say that no clients of mine ever want or need maintenace sessions… but some don’t.
Let’s look at social media for example. (Before you roll your eyes and tell me that social media can’t be my whipping boy for things, go with it.) How does social media pay for itself? You don’t have to pay for a subscription to FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram or SnapChat but they are all worth millions of dollars. Why? For two reasons, they have your information and your attention. Those are both resources and they sell them. They sell ads they promote things that will make THEM more money and keep you scrolling, clicking and logged in so they can make more money.
Social media looooves push notifications and emails because they want you to log back in and see more ads. Trust me, you and I both know you haven’t actaully missed anything. But they are working on getting your brain addicted to all the stimulation.
They use the information they have been able to mine from you to put ads in your path that will be as enticing as possible to you. They know what gets you to log back in, what you look at longer and they will continue to give you as much of that as they can find to keep you there.
How many of those ads leave you feeling like you are good just the way you are? NONE!!! That is the point! They are all designed to make you think you need to purchase something you probably don’t need or buy a subscription you probably won’t use. All while you are drinking litter after litter of Compare-deraid (an empty calorie beverage that will make you feel inadiquate, less than and defeated that comes in different flavors).
Compare-deraid also has you looking at other people you are ‘connected’ with (don’t get me started on how that is not real) and wondering why your life is not as simple, happy or good as the people who you see on there. Meanwhile, most people are only posting the AWESOME stuff that goes on in their lives. Not the mundane or truly painful.
Ok, I will pick on a totally diffiferent industry. What about the actual media? The news. 75 years ago in metropolitian areas, bigger newspapers would often publish a morning news paper and an evening/afternoon news paper and people would read the news. So there has always been a push to get the news as fast as possible in order to be the outlet that scooped everyone else. I mention this because in their haste to be the first, most (if not all) media outlets whether they are online, on TV or written of late have used the excuse of wanting to be first to pardon themselves for inaccuracy.
They profit from fear mongaring too. I rarely watch the news on TV now for a host of reasons but one of them is that they try to keep me tuned in all night by teasing a scary story that they will enlighten me on in the 10pm episode. Seriosuly!! How often to you hear a teaser like, “Tonight on KBHN; Are you kid’s school lunches being poisoned? Tune in tonight at 10pm” Of course done alongside dramatic music and images. If the middle school down the street was putting glass in kid’s food, don’t you think they would tell you right away?! They would be trying to get in front of it before the other channels did!
Why do the news outlets want you to stay tuned in from morning till night? The same reason social media wants you to stay logged in, they are able to show you ads.
One of the things that urks me the most about most news outlets (and by the way this is in no way a new phenominon but it may be reaching new lows) is that they all display their opinions. Some of them are overt about it but a lot of them aren’t. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but I need the facts so that I can have one of my own. I find myself having to mine and decipher so that I can feel confident that I have stumbled on a fact, not a headline that someone ran with.
Of course the beauty industry... When did not being able to move your face become a better option than being proud of the wisdom time has given you?
“Health” and fitness industry.... Six pack abs?! When is the last time your doctor said, your heart would do better if you had a 6-pack?! NEVER!!!!!!!!! I read a really interesting article by a nutritionist a few weeks ago that talked about how a woman’s body fat can be too low to bare children if she has a 6-pack. How is that healthy?!
I could keep going but I hope you are starting to see my point. The things are in our faces everyday have a self interest in staying in our faces everyday. And that interest is not benevolent care for us. In the coming days, I challenge you to start thinking about who you compare yourself to and why. What you think you are in need of any why. Are those thoughts in service of your best self or another industry that wants your money?