The US is the most medicated country on the planet. It is also the country that is known for having large numbers of mass murders, by single actors, with unknown motivations. This is something that has come about post 1970. It’s difficult to say what is exactly the cause; however that may not be the best way to consider it. Causation isn’t the most accurate description of interactions. Feedback loops are much more accurate. Taking medications for emotional issues may also not be the best way to address all issues; as civilized life isn’t always kind to the human psyche. The reasoning behind this post is the political discourse, the scientific responses, the bureaucratic responses and the public opinion concerning mass murder in the US. I find them all lacking in the rigor required to properly address the issue. I’m also concerned that the problem is likely to become more prevalent in the coming years with the increase of financial crises alone. Disillusionment from other factors could make it even worse.
The current climate:
The left tends to blame the guns rather than the actors or the environment. This of course is not a scientific approach; as there is no correlation between gun ownership and the steep increase of gun violence. As a matter of fact, they oppose each other.
The right tends to blame the actors themselves or maybe mental illness. This is probably a better approach; but yet not scientific either. Acts of violence are not more common among the mentally ill. This would also not correlate with the steep, recent incline.
The drug companies are marketing products to consumers. This is a bit of a paradoxical problem; as the right to be involved with one’s treatment seems ethical; however, self medication is always a bad idea. This borders self medication. “Ask your doctor about (fill in the blank)” is dubious at best. Being advised with a commercial rather than a consultation with a medical or mental health professional is far from ideal.
The government regulatory commissions are so involved with politics and bureaucracy that the conversation doesn’t even exist or is completely hand waved. This isn’t surprising; as a significant number of the bureaucrats are former administrators or legal experts of drug companies. The situation is wrought with conflict of interest
The mental health professionals spew statistics without even considering the statistical significance of the actors in question being almost unanimously mentally ill and on medications; and not questioning the lack of correlation with the data itself. This is just bad Epistemology. The bureaucrats and mental health professionals provide the data to sort this; however they don’t seem to consider it themselves. This requires a bit of qualification; of course.
Before the 1970s there wasn’t even one mass murder per year. The years where there was a mass murder, there was one that year. During the 70s and up to current times there has been much larger numbers than the population increase could account for.
This is a time when medication has become the “go to” solution for emotional discontent; along with emotional and psychological issues. This is evident in the distributions of medicated individuals. This number exceeds that of the rest of the world by a large margin. The US is 5% of the world’s population; however we consume 75% of the world’s prescription drugs.
Every day issues in modern society can result in emotional issues. Poverty and social inequality for instance, can result in mental distress. This is an issue as the US economy is probably in decline.
The red pill:
Some of the data appears to be disingenuous.
The number of people in the US that are being treated for some type of mental illness, disorder or condition doesn’t correlate with that of other countries. This is quite alarming; considering that almost all of the US’s population has roots in other countries. This appears to be more of a product of advertising and the vast income inequality in the US.
The distribution of people with mental illness in mass murder instances is surprisingly high; considering that mental illness isn’t a prerequisite for such violent behavior. Circumstances under development are a much more likely culprit. This probably isn’t something that could be addressed with prescriptions.
This is obviously a case of misrepresentation of the “facts”. This is probably due to not addressing the issue at hand in a scientific way. Few wish to take the time to actually test the claims and make some sort of coherent statement on the subject. The response tends to be rooted in political prowess or the issue is just denied all together. Either way, the issue is likely to worsen; as the environmental pressures worsen as well. A saturated health care market in the US is one of the main factors in the distribution of medications.
Here’s some food for thought concerning crime and punishment.
Here is some consideration of violent crime and social constructs.
I think that David Brin was right in suggesting that the Huxleyan implications of our current trajectory are more concerning than the Orwellian ones.