The Drugging of the American Mind

The Drugs Work

I was very disappointed to read "The Drugging of the American Mind" by Philip Dawdy [Nov. 30]. This article is full of misleading and dangerous misinformation. I am very sorry that Dawdy has to live with this difficult disorder, and his experience is certainly one individual's valid point of view. However, it should not be portrayed in Seattle Weekly as fact by a nonprofessional. Most people who know about mental health disorders acknowledge that each individual has vastly different experiences with these disorders and especially with these medications. I thought describing the disorder in terms of "plain vanilla" was diminishing the fact that bipolar disorder is extremely dangerous and debilitating for the person who has it as well as those who live with or love that person. I would suggest that another person with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia might and probably would have a completely different experience than Dawdy's.

I have several people very close to me, family and friends, that live with bipolar disorder, and my experience with them is very different than Dawdy's. What I have witnessed is a miraculous recovery from psychotic and delusional thinking that has assisted my loved ones with very little side effects from atypical antipsychotics, allowing them to live their own lives without the annihilating mania, delusions, and depression. Yes, some atypical antipsychotics have side effects such as weight gain in some people, but others, like Geodon, do not cause this. Nor does Risperdal cause facial muscular atrophy in most patients.

Anyone suffering with mental illness needs to be in the care of a knowledgeable psychiatrist who has experience with psychiatric medications. The doctor will give regular blood tests and have meetings to assure that the side effects are minimal and not causing greater problems.

Yes, medications usually have side effects. Those suffering with HIV/AIDS, cancer, diabetes, or other diseases have to live with these, too, unfortunately, but the benefits usually outweigh the alternatives. As mental illness comes out of the closet, we are seeing better medications developed to ease suffering, and we are able to reach more people who need correct information. This article's scare tactics were not beneficial and represented a slanted view of the subject.

David Martin

Seattle

Medicating America

Thank you for the great article by Philip Dawdy, "The Drugging of the American Mind" [Nov. 30]. Finally, I am beginning to understand why the American people have allowed themselves to be ruled by such unscrupulous politicians. It's all so clear now—we were on mind-altering meds . . . just couldn't think straight. Is it not criminal behavior for drug companies to provide these dangerous meds to a naive, uneducated population? The drugging of our youth is especially disturbing; I understand that the ADD drug Adderall, widely prescribed to teenagers in the United States, was temporarily pulled off the market in Canada. Why? There are reports that children died of heart attacks and strokes from using it. Is greed and profit in America more important than the safety of our children?

Thanks again for shedding light on this important subject.

Connie Wagner

Scottsdale, AZ

Nothing Is Sacred

Knute Berger's article on "Bankruptcy of Spirit" was brilliant [Mossback, Nov. 30]. Not so much because of his insight into the season, but because of his brave statement of the obvious. I think many Americans can see what this country is becoming, but no one says anything about it. And if they do, they certainly aren't being heard, as evidenced by the increasing irresponsibility of the networks and media to chase ratings instead of real news. The deteriorating arena of entertainment—making talentless people famous and bad behavior praiseworthy. It seems there are few people trying to put our derailing social structure and climate on track. Christmas is Christmas, it has Christ in it, and that's OK. A Christmas tree is a Christmas tree, and that is OK. We are historically a Christian country, and that is OK. In a country where "acceptance" is so very important, we sure like to squelch anything that is decent, orderly, and upright in favor of things that are crass, chaotic, and objectionable. I like how Berger said that the holiday season "shelters non-Christians, including those who celebrate Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, the pagan yule, or some solo, secular creation that allows us to exist, for a few days, nights, or weeks, in a sacred zone. . . . " I love that because it is so obvious and true. But I don't think people really care about sacred anymore; they care about money and their appetites.

Melissa Del Toro

Seattle

No Time For Soul-Searching?

Kudos to Knute Berger for his piece "Bankruptcy of Spirit" [Mossback, Nov. 30]. We can only hope that some of those in the frenzied crowds take notice and do a little soul-searching come Dec. 25. But I'm not holding my breath.

Larry Edwards

San Diego, CA

Time to Impeach

As usual, Geov Parrish is succinct, insightful, and correct ["When Presidents Lie," Nov. 30]. Two points I would like to underscore: First, the war in Iraq was illegal when perpetrated, and therefore remains illegal today. The question is not, "What is the best exit strategy?" but rather, "How quickly can we cease our belligerent hostilities and withdraw?" Quibbling about the "correct exit strategy" serves only to perpetuate the commission of crimes against humanity. Focusing on this point reveals the Democrats to be continuing their course of aimless spinelessness in the face of Republican Christian fascist shamelessness. But I digress. . . . 

Second, because Bush and Cheney have led the charge in the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity, they should be impeached and held for indictment and prosecution by the International Court. As to why the Dumbocrats would accept the proposition that a president can be impeached for lying about a sexual foray with an intern but not for lying about the propriety and legality of prosecuting the invasion of a sovereign nation, please refer to the foregoing paragraph.

Catherine Keys

Gig Harbor

Benefits of Test Stress

Nina Shapiro, though scrupulous about presenting both sides of the story, interviews parents who apparently don't care if their children learn any minimum set of skills in high school, because they might develop "defeatist attitudes" or feel "pressure" ["The Stress Test," Nov. 23]. I suppose they would be happier if their kids graduated without basic life skills, and had no sense of what it was like to perform when something is on the line. Handling pressure is an important skill that the WASL itself teaches.

A common fallacy in criticisms of the WASL is to attack individual subject areas, as if that invalidates the entire concept of holding students to a minimum standard. Mend it, don't end it; if the test measures a skill or knowledge that is not essential coming out of high school, then that section should not be a requirement for graduation.

Don't blame the WASL. It's good teaching to focus a struggling student on the basics at the expense of less important things. If better students are being taught the test and nothing but the test, that's bad teaching. So is transferring the pressure you feel from the administration onto your 9-year-old students. If our teachers are only sticking to the minimum standard, I shudder to think what they were doing before there were any standards at all.

Martin Duke

Bothell

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