Popping Pills

I recently finished reading Opening Skinner’s Box. It was one of the most enjoyable and thought-provoking reads I’ve had in a while (not that that says much since it’s been a while since I’ve read but I am restarting, even if ten pages a night). There’s been a lot of controversy over this book. There are articles on whether the author made stuff up or misquoted some of the psychiatrists she spoke with. Regardless, it’s an interesting read and I would recommend it.

The book talks about ten experiments the author claims are the greatest experiments of the twentieth century. One of these experiments is about psychiatric wards. I will summarize very quickly and apologize if this is not clear. A researcher got eight of his friends to go to prestigious and public psychiatric clinics and they were to say that they heard a voice that said “thud” and see if they would be admitted. All other details they gave were to be 100% accurate and once inside, they were to act completely normal. All the patients were admitted and spent from 9 to 53 days at the wards. This was to prove that psychiatrists don’t recognize sane people.

This experiment caused a lot controversy and pissed many people off. One pyschiatrist claimed that such an experiment would never work today. So the author decided to try it out. Just like the original nine, she didn’t shower or brush her teeth for a week and then went in and said she heard a “thud.” Partly due to the experiment I explained above patients are never admitted anymore unless they are a danger to others or to themselves. As such, the author was not admitted anywhere but she was diagnosed in all places as a schizophrenic or some other equally serious disease and she was prescribed over 50 pills in total. All this after a ten to fifteen minute diagnostic solely based on her hearing “thud.”

Reading that gave me the chills. For some reason, right around the pregnancy I became very anti-medication. I am not saying there aren’t legitimate times that call for pills that are tremendously helpful and necessary. But I find that in our society, today, we over-medicate. Most of the medications have strong side effects that then reequire other medication. Fact is, medicine rarely works long term. Your immune system adjusts and you need to up the dosage or change pills. All you’re doing is intrdocuing a lot of foregin, not well tested stuff into your body for short term relief (not that it isn’t really needed at times). This coming from someone who took Vioxx for almost two years. So I wasn’t always such a pill-hater. But now I am. And reading the author’s experience only made me more sure that doctors are too quick to try to solve stuff with pills, especially if they don’t really know what’s wrong with you.

When David was six weeks old I thought I might have thrush and called my pediatrician. The nurse was going to write me a 21-day prescription over the phone. Without even seeing me and making sure I did have thrush. I told her that I wanted to see someone and be sure. She gave me an appointment and lo and behold it turned out not to be thrush. If I weren’t so adamant, I would have been taking unnecessary medicine (not to mention giving it to David through my milk) for three weeks.

How scary is that?

ps: For those of you who’ve been following the no-sleep saga, things have improved slightly. David now wakes up three times a night, around every three to four hours. I would be okay with twice a night and am praying that it’s coming soon. Some of my sanity is already coming back and I am really glad. Thanks for listening and being there.

6 comments to Popping Pills

  • First and foremost, you have some amazing photographs! My company was looking for a “pelican” to place on the front page of our client’s site (www.pelicanproperty.com). We fell in love with: http://www.karenika.com/pictures/canon/sb/sb4.html

    First of all, in most shots, Pelican’s look pretty ugly and non-graceful. You photograph is amazing.

    How much would you charge to allow us to display this photograph on the main page of our client’s site? I would have no problem putting a copyright mark on the bottom of the picture and a link to your site. Of course if you agreed to let us use the photograph or pay you to use it, we would place a line such as “photograph is copyright by karenika.com, licensed to be used by the Pelican Real Estate website…” Or something similiar.

    Please let me know if we can work something out.

    Thank you!


  • oso

    Love it. One of my favorite photos of yours in a while. Then again, I’m partial to LJ Shores.

  • bob

    I don’t think you could make this image any better if you tried for a million years… it’s simply divine…. One of my ALL TIME FAVORITES…. Hope all is well with you!

  • gotta love this one! the colors, the tones, the birds. serene. calm. perfect.

  • aleppo

    I love this photo! So evocative.

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