The disease? Social anxiety disorder … previously known as shyness.You may have seen this campaign firsthand; ads stating "Imagine being allergic to people" were distributed widely, celebrities gave interviews to the press and psychiatrists gave lectures on this new disease in the top 25 media markets.
As a result, mentions of social anxiety in the press rose from about 50 to over 1 billion in just two years … social anxiety disorder became the "third most common mental illness" in the U.S. … and Paxil skyrocketed to the top of the charts as one of the most profitable and most prescribed drugs in the United States.
Clearly there was not a rapid rise in the number of people suffering from extreme shyness during this time … there was just a masterful marketing campaign that successfully whispered into enough people's ears, "If you're shy or nervous around others, you need to take this drug."
And that's just what millions did.
Drug Companies are Seeking to Medicalize Society … and You
Drug companies would like you to believe that for every symptom you experience, there's a pill you need to treat it. This includes symptoms you might not have thought twice about, had you not seen the very same ones advertised on television in relation to an "underdiagnosed" and "undertreated" disease.
As authors of Selling Sickness: The Pharmaceutical Industry and Disease Mongering wrote in the British Medical Journal:
"There's a lot of money to be made from telling healthy people they're sick. Some forms of medicalizing ordinary life may now be better described as disease mongering: widening the boundaries of treatable illness in order to expand markets for those who sell and deliver treatments.
Pharmaceutical companies are actively involved in sponsoring the definition of diseases and promoting them to both prescribers and consumers. The social construction of illness is being replaced by the corporate construction of disease."
This practice has resulted in the creation of unholy alliances between drug companies, health care providers and supposed consumer groups, all working in concert to convince people they're sick and in need of drug treatment. As the British Medical Journal continued:
"Within many disease categories informal alliances have emerged, comprising drug company staff, doctors, and consumer groups. Ostensibly engaged in raising public awareness about underdiagnosed and undertreated problems, these alliances tend to promote a view of their particular condition as widespread, serious, and treatable.
Because these "disease awareness" campaigns are commonly linked to companies' marketing strategies, they operate to expand markets for new pharmaceutical products.
Alternative approaches—emphasizing the self limiting or relatively benign natural history of a problem, or the importance of personal coping strategies—are played down or ignored."
What the drug companies don't want you to know is that ALL of their drugs carry risks of serious side effects, some worse than the alleged diseases they're meant to treat. They also don't want you to know that, more often than not, you can overcome problematic symptoms yourself by making positive dietary and lifestyle changes.
And, in fact, this latter form of "treatment" is virtually the only way to actually cure an illness, as drugs typically do absolutely nothing but temporarily mask your symptoms.
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Income for the 98% that fail in Their Internet Business.
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