A Drugged & Depressed Society

Tiocfaidh_Armani

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An articel I wrote for the Pensive Quill - A Drugged & Depressed Society

I was ready to board a flight from Vancouver in Canada to head home to Ireland after a week in Las Vegas; tired after a 4am rise the last thing I wanted to hear was there would be no operational TVs for the ten-hour flight home. It's a time when even 36,000 feet in the air we are still connected to technology, so like when I recently left for work without my phone you feel a mild form of irritation at being naked of something to keep your mind occupied to pass the time, that all addicts of junk technology feel when without it. In my teen years (1993-1999), I consumed books at a rapid rate, mostly history related and anything relating to the struggle up north. My only distraction in those years was television and we only had one, which my old lad controlled much of the time with an iron grip. So, with a book I packed, with the good intention of reading on holiday, and didn't, I was going to read for ten hours like it was 1999 again.


The book I read Chasing the Scream which was a history of the drug war and making the case that what we think of drugs and addiction is wrong and why the war on drugs was creating a war for drugs that had whipped a carnival of reaction and was causing those involved to become more and more violent to establish and solidify their grip on a lucrative trade. It highlighted the inhumanity of how we treat addicts, mindful the genesis of their addiction was rooted in childhood sexual and physical abuse, and a neglected youth. The title of the book was a reference to the father of the drug war Harry Anslinger's first experience of a drug addict who was screaming in agony in the distance and this stayed with him throughout his life and affected him negatively and saw him embark on a war on drugs that rather than solve a problem that didn’t exist, but made it worse.



It reminded me of the time my father had a severe stroke. He had a six month stay in hospital. The person in the bed beside him in his ward was a great guy. He was always looking out for my old lad and letting us know how he was doing during the night and that. He didn't have to do it, but he did. He had a good soul, I suppose. He was a person who had a history of addiction and his internal organs were in a bad way; not due to the drugs themselves but the contaminants in the drugs that criminals put in them to increase their profits. He thought he was going to have a liver transplant, but everyone else, including us, knew he was going to die, and they had chosen not to tell him. It seemed cruel, everyone else knew but him. He became close to my family and, likely due to his time as an addict, he had no family around him when he was taken to a private room to die, other than my own mother and sister for company. He died in agony, his internal organs failing. His screaming haunted my mother. I thought of that as I was reading Chasing the Scream flying over the Atlantic last year. We’re still chasing the screams of addicts and those in emotional distress.

Inspired by Johann Hari's book,

I wrote an article for this website

making the case for republicans to take themselves out of the drug war and to campaign for evidence-based law reform pointing at the examples set by Portugal and Switzerland and for us to re-examine how we treat addicts leaving them in the hands of criminal gangs. I touched on the need for a social recovery to tackle addiction in our society, believing the issue was not with the substances involved, but the pain and trauma being felt in society that was causing people to connect with foreign substances to escape their everyday life. Just as depression which is kinetically linked to addiction, is not a simple matter of a rise in chemical imbalances in the brain, the reasons in their concurrent rise are multifaceted, with the causes all around us. Thankfully, the solutions are also and need to be holistic in our approach to remedying them.


Today, one-in-five Americans are taking at least one drug for psychiatric problems (one in four middle aged women are taking antidepressants); France has one-in-three taking psychotropic drugs of some kind; with Britain being among the highest in Europe also. We take so many antidepressants they are in Western countries' water supply given so many take them and are excreting them that they can't be completely filtered out of our water supply.



We are told now is the greatest time to be alive with so many technological advances and with the advent of the internet and social media, we are the most connected society in human history and, in many ways, they're right; and yet so wrong at the same time. We see depression and anxiety have been on a steady upward trajectory and it's worth noting for the first time in the peacetime history of the United States white male life expectancy has decreased for the last three years in-a-row, largely down to addiction and suicides. Is there just simply a rise in chemically imbalanced brain defects, or - and this is worth noting for those of a left-wing persuasion - is the kind of hyper-capitalist and hyper-individualistic economy and society we've built making us ill and depressed?

In Johann Hari's book on depression, 


Lost Connections

, he tells the story about a wand in the 18th century, that was claimed could heal physical pain. A thick metal rod, that had been patented by a company, which they called "tractor". The company claimed their metal rod, just like how lightning rods draw lightening, the tractor would draw the sickness and pain in your body and propel it out of your body and into the air without it ever touching you. People crippled by rheumatism, people tortured by pain, really did see their pain recede and hopeless cases were walking again free of any pain or impediment. The company who patented the tractor said they couldn't give their secret away as others would copy it and they would lose the money on what was their creation after all. Some doctors baffled by the amazing results did their own tests disguising an old stick as a metal rod and telling patients it was one of the now-famous Perkins wands; with it, they achieved the same results. A man with unbearable pain in his knee began to walk freely shortly after having the 'wand' waved over his body, and a patient with crippling rheumatic pain in his shoulder was able to lift his hands from his knees for the first time in years. There were other doctors who carried similar studies with the same results. What had been going on was the placebo effect - the process of patients given dummy medication and their strong belief in the story that this would make them better can invariably make it so. Just like some American soldiers in WWII who needed to be operated on when they had run out of opiate-based painkillers, had been operated on with a saltwater drip, which they had been told was morphine, so they didn't go into shock. The soldiers reacted just as they had been given morphine. There was no screaming or shouting. It worked just like it was morphine, because the soldiers believed it to be so. The tractor wand, of course, like the saltwater drop, was a fraud.

In the modern day, the placebo effect even plays a significant part in the process of the testing phase for potential drugs to getting it from the lab and ending up in our pharmacies and into the public domain. Any potential drug, such as antidepressants, must go through a rigorous process involving testing on two groups: one is given the real drug and the other is given a sugar pill, or some other placebo. Then the researchers compare the groups' results. You are only allowed sell the drug by the Food and Drugs Agency (FDA) if the real drug performs significantly better than the placebo. That would seem clear cut and fair enough, right? The thing is though there is a third group they left out. That being the third group they would give nothing to; no actual drug, no placebo - nothing. You need that group to test to see the rate that people will get better by themselves, with no chemical or placebo help. When tests were done involving three groups the results showed 25% would get better by themselves; 50% of them got better due to the story they were told about them, the placebo and 25% due to the actual chemicals. So, what of the research done with the two groups, it must show significantly more of an effect than the placebo to make it to market, remember? The problem with that is most of the research done to see if drugs work and can make it to market is done by the big pharmaceutical companies themselves. In secret. Over 40% of these studies never see the light of day. They also only publish the results that would make their drug look good and better than their rivals'. It's the same reason McDonald's would never release their studies that say their food is likely to make you overweight. It's called "publication bias".

Rest of article in link.
 
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The OD

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The answer is quite simple - proper psychiatric and psycho-therapeutic treatments take time and patience, why wait when you can just give someone a pill?

Ireland is shockingly pathetic when it comes to mental health care services and to be bluntly honest, I wouldn't be in the least bit surprised if someone in the HSE was taking backhanders to ensure the pharma firms get priority over therapy. I mean their attitude to vaping is quite telling, I accept vaping is probably harmful to some degree but the NHS has the likes of this advice:


Whereas the HSE offer this meagre offering:


They suggest you use nicotine replacement therapy to quit which, as an ex smoker I can attest to being utterly useless. Within about a week of using an e-cig I was off cigarettes and now I vape nicotine free with a few drinks only. The NHS have adopted a more nuanced 'least harm' principle but then I guess the British PM doesn't get threatening letters from pharma bosses.

One has to wonder how much is spent on these 'nicotine replacement therapies' by the HSE every year for a product that has a massive failure rate but I am sure the data is out there.
 

Lumpy Talbot

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Excellent, thoughtful OP. Kudos. This is such a huge subject it is difficult to even get arms around it. I think Michel Houllebecq was really on to something with his riffs on our increasingly fractured society (ref 'Atomised' in particular).

The distress signs are there, even in the corporate world, where HR departments are becoming distinctly alarmed at the bleak cynicism being recorded in staff surveys.

Only thing I can think of to counter this is the natural desire for people to shut down on extraneous noise. Increasingly I notice that otherwise bright young people are having to defend themselves against depression by insulating themselves against the negative noise that is hanging in the air. Problem is that they are constructing cocoons of safe space in which the normal interest in current affairs and the news generally is being lowered.

I'm convinced that there is a sort of disassociation involved and under way. This is not good for politics. The only bright spot is that the atomisation means young people are focusing all anger and desire for change in specific and defined areas of life. Thunberg and climate change, for example.

Young people are being battered by extraneous and unnecessary information, so they do what teenagers do best. They shut down because they haven't got the filters older people have developed in order to ignore the 'snow'.
 

rainmaker

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An articel I wrote for the Pensive Quill - A Drugged & Depressed Society

I was ready to board a flight from Vancouver in Canada to head home to Ireland after a week in Las Vegas; tired after a 4am rise the last thing I wanted to hear was there would be no operational TVs for the ten-hour flight home. It's a time when even 36,000 feet in the air we are still connected to technology, so like when I recently left for work without my phone you feel a mild form of irritation at being naked of something to keep your mind occupied to pass the time, that all addicts of junk technology feel when without it. In my teen years (1993-1999), I consumed books at a rapid rate, mostly history related and anything relating to the struggle up north. My only distraction in those years was television and we only had one, which my old lad controlled much of the time with an iron grip. So, with a book I packed, with the good intention of reading on holiday, and didn't, I was going to read for ten hours like it was 1999 again.


The book I read Chasing the Scream which was a history of the drug war and making the case that what we think of drugs and addiction is wrong and why the war on drugs was creating a war for drugs that had whipped a carnival of reaction and was causing those involved to become more and more violent to establish and solidify their grip on a lucrative trade. It highlighted the inhumanity of how we treat addicts, mindful the genesis of their addiction was rooted in childhood sexual and physical abuse, and a neglected youth. The title of the book was a reference to the father of the drug war Harry Anslinger's first experience of a drug addict who was screaming in agony in the distance and this stayed with him throughout his life and affected him negatively and saw him embark on a war on drugs that rather than solve a problem that didn’t exist, but made it worse.



It reminded me of the time my father had a severe stroke. He had a six month stay in hospital. The person in the bed beside him in his ward was a great guy. He was always looking out for my old lad and letting us know how he was doing during the night and that. He didn't have to do it, but he did. He had a good soul, I suppose. He was a person who had a history of addiction and his internal organs were in a bad way; not due to the drugs themselves but the contaminants in the drugs that criminals put in them to increase their profits. He thought he was going to have a liver transplant, but everyone else, including us, knew he was going to die, and they had chosen not to tell him. It seemed cruel, everyone else knew but him. He became close to my family and, likely due to his time as an addict, he had no family around him when he was taken to a private room to die, other than my own mother and sister for company. He died in agony, his internal organs failing. His screaming haunted my mother. I thought of that as I was reading Chasing the Scream flying over the Atlantic last year. We’re still chasing the screams of addicts and those in emotional distress.

Inspired by Johann Hari's book,

I wrote an article for this website

making the case for republicans to take themselves out of the drug war and to campaign for evidence-based law reform pointing at the examples set by Portugal and Switzerland and for us to re-examine how we treat addicts leaving them in the hands of criminal gangs. I touched on the need for a social recovery to tackle addiction in our society, believing the issue was not with the substances involved, but the pain and trauma being felt in society that was causing people to connect with foreign substances to escape their everyday life. Just as depression which is kinetically linked to addiction, is not a simple matter of a rise in chemical imbalances in the brain, the reasons in their concurrent rise are multifaceted, with the causes all around us. Thankfully, the solutions are also and need to be holistic in our approach to remedying them.


Today, one-in-five Americans are taking at least one drug for psychiatric problems (one in four middle aged women are taking antidepressants); France has one-in-three taking psychotropic drugs of some kind; with Britain being among the highest in Europe also. We take so many antidepressants they are in Western countries' water supply given so many take them and are excreting them that they can't be completely filtered out of our water supply.



We are told now is the greatest time to be alive with so many technological advances and with the advent of the internet and social media, we are the most connected society in human history and, in many ways, they're right; and yet so wrong at the same time. We see depression and anxiety have been on a steady upward trajectory and it's worth noting for the first time in the peacetime history of the United States white male life expectancy has decreased for the last three years in-a-row, largely down to addiction and suicides. Is there just simply a rise in chemically imbalanced brain defects, or - and this is worth noting for those of a left-wing persuasion - is the kind of hyper-capitalist and hyper-individualistic economy and society we've built making us ill and depressed?

In Johann Hari's book on depression, 


Lost Connections

, he tells the story about a wand in the 18th century, that was claimed could heal physical pain. A thick metal rod, that had been patented by a company, which they called "tractor". The company claimed their metal rod, just like how lightning rods draw lightening, the tractor would draw the sickness and pain in your body and propel it out of your body and into the air without it ever touching you. People crippled by rheumatism, people tortured by pain, really did see their pain recede and hopeless cases were walking again free of any pain or impediment. The company who patented the tractor said they couldn't give their secret away as others would copy it and they would lose the money on what was their creation after all. Some doctors baffled by the amazing results did their own tests disguising an old stick as a metal rod and telling patients it was one of the now-famous Perkins wands; with it, they achieved the same results. A man with unbearable pain in his knee began to walk freely shortly after having the 'wand' waved over his body, and a patient with crippling rheumatic pain in his shoulder was able to lift his hands from his knees for the first time in years. There were other doctors who carried similar studies with the same results. What had been going on was the placebo effect - the process of patients given dummy medication and their strong belief in the story that this would make them better can invariably make it so. Just like some American soldiers in WWII who needed to be operated on when they had run out of opiate-based painkillers, had been operated on with a saltwater drip, which they had been told was morphine, so they didn't go into shock. The soldiers reacted just as they had been given morphine. There was no screaming or shouting. It worked just like it was morphine, because the soldiers believed it to be so. The tractor wand, of course, like the saltwater drop, was a fraud.

In the modern day, the placebo effect even plays a significant part in the process of the testing phase for potential drugs to getting it from the lab and ending up in our pharmacies and into the public domain. Any potential drug, such as antidepressants, must go through a rigorous process involving testing on two groups: one is given the real drug and the other is given a sugar pill, or some other placebo. Then the researchers compare the groups' results. You are only allowed sell the drug by the Food and Drugs Agency (FDA) if the real drug performs significantly better than the placebo. That would seem clear cut and fair enough, right? The thing is though there is a third group they left out. That being the third group they would give nothing to; no actual drug, no placebo - nothing. You need that group to test to see the rate that people will get better by themselves, with no chemical or placebo help. When tests were done involving three groups the results showed 25% would get better by themselves; 50% of them got better due to the story they were told about them, the placebo and 25% due to the actual chemicals. So, what of the research done with the two groups, it must show significantly more of an effect than the placebo to make it to market, remember? The problem with that is most of the research done to see if drugs work and can make it to market is done by the big pharmaceutical companies themselves. In secret. Over 40% of these studies never see the light of day. They also only publish the results that would make their drug look good and better than their rivals'. It's the same reason McDonald's would never release their studies that say their food is likely to make you overweight. It's called "publication bias".

Rest of article in link.
Thanks for posting that. It's refreshing to read a non partisan, non adversarial yet interesting & absorbing OP.
 

Lumpy Talbot

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I must admit that I have been an advocate for some time of starving electoral areas of resource where they elect a convicted criminal, for example. How I would do this is from the top level down.

I'm aware that the rules on persons regarded suitable to be a member of the Oireachtas were eased in the aftermath of the financial crisis because quite frankly some sitting politicians would have been debarred under the previous regulations.

I don't want to stray too far from the subject on a thread with a particularly finely written OP but Antóin's post is a very interesting one there on the ground level events around the despair in urban Dublin and elsewhere which leads to the escapism of drug use.

To try and add to any insights that might be gleaned about a drugged and depressed society I do think the drug and depression cycle is a unique facet of western society. That's not to say there isn't a rampant drug and depression society in the shantytowns of Johannesburg, the slums of Lagos and the brutal society on the streets in India. Pretty sure China has a major drug issue or issues.

But the despair of poverty and the desire to escape it if only for a few hours is surely a driver in opiate use in the poverty stricken areas of the world, just as unsettled unhappiness and distance from the land in a landscape of hard edges, a place where you can never buy a home because it is financially unattainable unless you are quite rich, worry about what the future will hold, that's a form of despair as well and while it might seem a bit Versailles to compare the two I'm not sure that the effect is so different.

The US has some dreadful issues and I am convinced it is because a large section of the population now know that the top level consumer carrot in that society is unattainable to them. The American Dream and it's dark underbelly. We are seeing signs of distress in that society, from the young men boiling over in frustration into mental illness with a rifle in a school, to the opioid crisis and as blatant a form of deadly escapism ever seen. They get the unattainable dream beamed at them 24 hrs a day. If you can't access it there must be something wrong with you. There are entire industries in the USA built on the notion that you can teach people how to become rich, with the unwritten text underneath saying 'and avoid failure'.

There is a major malfunction in expectation management in society. Different reasons, different regions, but the stress levels across the planet now even though we are in a time of fewer wars I suspect are very high.
 

Lumpy Talbot

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I had to do some in-depth reading quite some years ago on young people and substance abuse, whether alcohol or drugs. I learned something startling and it was one of those lightbulb moments you remember always.

It was in reading the neurological journals, lots of data on alcohol and drug consumption in the under 25's and in teenagers that it either dawned on me or was strongly hinted at in the literature was that teenagers and young adults go through sullen and withdrawn phases in the awkward years we all know but they don't have the filters adults have to be able to block out extraneous noise.

The noise is data. Visual, aural, spoken, body language, billions of pieces of data flowing through the receivers in a way adults have forgotten. This is why teenagers develop a liking for staying in bed all day, which seems like a waste of a day to the rest of us but to them is a blessed respite from massive information overload.

They do get mentally exhausted in a way that adults don't. Adults have subconsciously adopted a coping mechanism to shut out the un-needed data. Teenagers and young adults haven't got those overload-defences. They have to withdraw and get away from data receiving just to be able to managed the processing load.

With teenagers it is a range of dynamics involved. An older teenager seen drinking illegally is a powerful lure into the same behaviour. They are pack animals exploring socially and they will identify leaders, and they won't necessarily be the sort of leaders parents would approve of. Nothing more powerful to a teenage mind than someone they regard as socially some grades above them offering to bring them into the warmest social circle publicly by offering a drink or a joint or a much more alarming behaviour.
 

Mickeymac

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An articel I wrote for the Pensive Quill - A Drugged & Depressed Society

I was ready to board a flight from Vancouver in Canada to head home to Ireland after a week in Las Vegas; tired after a 4am rise the last thing I wanted to hear was there would be no operational TVs for the ten-hour flight home. It's a time when even 36,000 feet in the air we are still connected to technology, so like when I recently left for work without my phone you feel a mild form of irritation at being naked of something to keep your mind occupied to pass the time, that all addicts of junk technology feel when without it. In my teen years (1993-1999), I consumed books at a rapid rate, mostly history related and anything relating to the struggle up north. My only distraction in those years was television and we only had one, which my old lad controlled much of the time with an iron grip. So, with a book I packed, with the good intention of reading on holiday, and didn't, I was going to read for ten hours like it was 1999 again.


The book I read Chasing the Scream which was a history of the drug war and making the case that what we think of drugs and addiction is wrong and why the war on drugs was creating a war for drugs that had whipped a carnival of reaction and was causing those involved to become more and more violent to establish and solidify their grip on a lucrative trade. It highlighted the inhumanity of how we treat addicts, mindful the genesis of their addiction was rooted in childhood sexual and physical abuse, and a neglected youth. The title of the book was a reference to the father of the drug war Harry Anslinger's first experience of a drug addict who was screaming in agony in the distance and this stayed with him throughout his life and affected him negatively and saw him embark on a war on drugs that rather than solve a problem that didn’t exist, but made it worse.



It reminded me of the time my father had a severe stroke. He had a six month stay in hospital. The person in the bed beside him in his ward was a great guy. He was always looking out for my old lad and letting us know how he was doing during the night and that. He didn't have to do it, but he did. He had a good soul, I suppose. He was a person who had a history of addiction and his internal organs were in a bad way; not due to the drugs themselves but the contaminants in the drugs that criminals put in them to increase their profits. He thought he was going to have a liver transplant, but everyone else, including us, knew he was going to die, and they had chosen not to tell him. It seemed cruel, everyone else knew but him. He became close to my family and, likely due to his time as an addict, he had no family around him when he was taken to a private room to die, other than my own mother and sister for company. He died in agony, his internal organs failing. His screaming haunted my mother. I thought of that as I was reading Chasing the Scream flying over the Atlantic last year. We’re still chasing the screams of addicts and those in emotional distress.

Inspired by Johann Hari's book,

I wrote an article for this website

making the case for republicans to take themselves out of the drug war and to campaign for evidence-based law reform pointing at the examples set by Portugal and Switzerland and for us to re-examine how we treat addicts leaving them in the hands of criminal gangs. I touched on the need for a social recovery to tackle addiction in our society, believing the issue was not with the substances involved, but the pain and trauma being felt in society that was causing people to connect with foreign substances to escape their everyday life. Just as depression which is kinetically linked to addiction, is not a simple matter of a rise in chemical imbalances in the brain, the reasons in their concurrent rise are multifaceted, with the causes all around us. Thankfully, the solutions are also and need to be holistic in our approach to remedying them.


Today, one-in-five Americans are taking at least one drug for psychiatric problems (one in four middle aged women are taking antidepressants); France has one-in-three taking psychotropic drugs of some kind; with Britain being among the highest in Europe also. We take so many antidepressants they are in Western countries' water supply given so many take them and are excreting them that they can't be completely filtered out of our water supply.



We are told now is the greatest time to be alive with so many technological advances and with the advent of the internet and social media, we are the most connected society in human history and, in many ways, they're right; and yet so wrong at the same time. We see depression and anxiety have been on a steady upward trajectory and it's worth noting for the first time in the peacetime history of the United States white male life expectancy has decreased for the last three years in-a-row, largely down to addiction and suicides. Is there just simply a rise in chemically imbalanced brain defects, or - and this is worth noting for those of a left-wing persuasion - is the kind of hyper-capitalist and hyper-individualistic economy and society we've built making us ill and depressed?

In Johann Hari's book on depression, 


Lost Connections

, he tells the story about a wand in the 18th century, that was claimed could heal physical pain. A thick metal rod, that had been patented by a company, which they called "tractor". The company claimed their metal rod, just like how lightning rods draw lightening, the tractor would draw the sickness and pain in your body and propel it out of your body and into the air without it ever touching you. People crippled by rheumatism, people tortured by pain, really did see their pain recede and hopeless cases were walking again free of any pain or impediment. The company who patented the tractor said they couldn't give their secret away as others would copy it and they would lose the money on what was their creation after all. Some doctors baffled by the amazing results did their own tests disguising an old stick as a metal rod and telling patients it was one of the now-famous Perkins wands; with it, they achieved the same results. A man with unbearable pain in his knee began to walk freely shortly after having the 'wand' waved over his body, and a patient with crippling rheumatic pain in his shoulder was able to lift his hands from his knees for the first time in years. There were other doctors who carried similar studies with the same results. What had been going on was the placebo effect - the process of patients given dummy medication and their strong belief in the story that this would make them better can invariably make it so. Just like some American soldiers in WWII who needed to be operated on when they had run out of opiate-based painkillers, had been operated on with a saltwater drip, which they had been told was morphine, so they didn't go into shock. The soldiers reacted just as they had been given morphine. There was no screaming or shouting. It worked just like it was morphine, because the soldiers believed it to be so. The tractor wand, of course, like the saltwater drop, was a fraud.

In the modern day, the placebo effect even plays a significant part in the process of the testing phase for potential drugs to getting it from the lab and ending up in our pharmacies and into the public domain. Any potential drug, such as antidepressants, must go through a rigorous process involving testing on two groups: one is given the real drug and the other is given a sugar pill, or some other placebo. Then the researchers compare the groups' results. You are only allowed sell the drug by the Food and Drugs Agency (FDA) if the real drug performs significantly better than the placebo. That would seem clear cut and fair enough, right? The thing is though there is a third group they left out. That being the third group they would give nothing to; no actual drug, no placebo - nothing. You need that group to test to see the rate that people will get better by themselves, with no chemical or placebo help. When tests were done involving three groups the results showed 25% would get better by themselves; 50% of them got better due to the story they were told about them, the placebo and 25% due to the actual chemicals. So, what of the research done with the two groups, it must show significantly more of an effect than the placebo to make it to market, remember? The problem with that is most of the research done to see if drugs work and can make it to market is done by the big pharmaceutical companies themselves. In secret. Over 40% of these studies never see the light of day. They also only publish the results that would make their drug look good and better than their rivals'. It's the same reason McDonald's would never release their studies that say their food is likely to make you overweight. It's called "publication bias".

Rest of article in link.

Excellent post TA and very well worth the read sir.
 

Lumpy Talbot

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I've no objection at all to a democratic socialist republican movement. It is where I started out with an interest in Irish politics. In fact the Democratic Socialists and Jim Kemmy are the only people I ever went door to door for.

On the other points I know we have a tendency to look for the single cause of any ill, condition or state. But the older I get the more I realise that a single cause for any issue is as rare as a white rhino.

It is always a mix of dynamics which adds up to something good or something toxic.
 

Pyewacket

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To read the Daily Mail, you would think vaping is the new AIDS.

These media ****ers are in the pay of the tobacco barons. Occams Razor.
 

Lumpy Talbot

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Well the Daily Wail was deliberately founded in order to supply the people with their daily hate. It is the sole reason the rag exists. Both it and the Sun have more in common with the yellow penny dreadfuls sold on street corners in the Victorian era than any real press of the past.
 

Lumpy Talbot

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It is relevant to the thread as well as the penny dreadfuls printed on yellow paper via hand press in the Victorian era were always carefully written in such a way as to horrify the reader.

'The Girl Strangl'd'.... 'The Beast of Bond Street Strikes Again'... always with the vicarious thrill that people get when reading of the terrible misfortunes of others. Nowadays people just slow down to a crawl when passing an auto crash, in the hope of seeing something grotesque and bloody, and get the dopamine payoff of thinking 'Glad that wasn't me'.
 

Pyewacket

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The Pensive Arse is something the Daily Mail would not acknowledge.

In that respect the Daily Mail has a point.
 

Lumpy Talbot

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The Times is generally quite pensive. The Telegraph is the mad Aunt in the attic. The Wail and Express are just awful. The Sun is a pimply faced wanker who can clear a pub in minutes with its tedious and repetitive 1970s schtick. Like a sort of semi-literate Millwall.
 

Pyewacket

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The Times is generally quite pensive. The Telegraph is the mad Aunt in the attic. The Wail and Express are just awful. The Sun is a pimply faced wanker who can clear a pub in minutes with its tedious and repetitive 1970s schtick. Like a sort of semi-literate Millwall.
What do you make of the Pensive Quill, that Op reveres?
 

Lumpy Talbot

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People are self-medicating, y'know. Various forms of obliteration set against a wildly differing context between the western world and the 'developing world'.

I wonder is intoxication of whatever kind just an inherent desire in humanity, not shared out equally of course, but the need to blank out everyday concerns for a while.

A friend wrote a book on the subject of the cultural history of intoxication. It seems from that book, very well researched and written, that the desire for intoxication either ritually or as a response seems to be wired into us at some level. I wonder is it because of the way our minds developed. Animals don't suffer as far as we know from bi-polar disorder, schizophrenia or the uniquely human interplay between physiology, chemistry, synapse and perception. So the mind is a great thing, the human brain the most complex machine in the Universe discovered thus far. But it can also be a burden.

Animals do get intoxicated. Elephants famously rage through villages in India in a drunken stupor after eating and drinking fruit fermented in the hot sun. On Madagascar I think it is the Lemurs who help themselves in the trees to this free bar, and can be heard thumping out of the trees onto the ground absolutely langers to the world.

Accidental I know but then they keep doing it. So do we.
 

Lumpy Talbot

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Well I like the signals I see in the psychology. The 'Eire Nua' is something I'd be very interested in. I think it a much more thoughtful and pragmatic approach to the possibility of reunification and hints at a strategic thoughtfulness which is to be welcomed.
 

Lumpy Talbot

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To try to bring the subject back closer to the fine OP which deserves attention the 'Eire Nua' and the conversation about a New Ireland could actually in the end help bring about improvements to some of the conditions in urban areas in Belfast and Dublin and along the border which are more positive than has been known for a long time.

Militant socialism has tended to come from areas where differences in educational opportunities, a perception of being forgotten by society, and the inevitable offshoot of that kind of perception in statistical alcoholism and drug use that stems from consequent underemployment and a struggle to maintain a sense of self-worth or value.

Militant socialism scares the horses for the general population. So it is limited in its appeal. Everyone can understand the concept and wisdom of aiming for a better society in the same way that everyone can understand that toilets in houses were a welcome technological advance to people who liked to stroll the urban streets. But few wish to be very radical, either in the outdated 'right' or 'left' political discussion that is still being chewed over by various comrades at work in the Irish industrial Ruhr :)

But you'd hope for just a little bit of socialism in the right areas, and a little bit of socialism is a thing that most people don't mind. Socialism is after all an attempt to unite society, not divide it. Who can object to that?
 

reg11

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Viewed as an economic problem, as a symptom of a surplus of Labour, like suicide, with a direct co-relation between them, the problem being repeatedly proven to be more pronounced in areas with high-unemployment rates and which suffer from socio-economic disadvantage, and again, the multifaceted causes more pronounced in urban areas in the conflict zone, the remedy then becomes Democracy, Socialism and Republicanism. That's what I had in mind when I said that:
It has been documented that there were far lower rates of depression when NI was a conflict zone in comparison to now. Now it has the highest rate of depression in all the UK. What you're stating above contradicts that.
 


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