Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Hypochondria Nation

Last night I was indulging in a favorite pastime - whether I have the early symptoms of Dengue Fever or trypanosomiasis - when I came upon a simple realization. Americans are obsessed with being sick.
The fearsome eyelash mite.
Part of this is an understandable desire to get some value out of all the money being spent on health insurance. People with insurance pay, either themselves or through their jobs, an average of $8,000 a year.  For that kind of money you'd want something more than just an occasional cold that your doctor can't do a freaking thing about anyhow.

Another part is the inherent paranoia of Americans. We are afraid of foreigners, Muslims, children's books, even ourselves. So of course we are afraid of every tiny little microbe that ever existed - harmless or not.
A dust mite army.
Also the Pharmaceutical Industry
Drug companies spend billions of dollars trying to convince us that we are sick. Anyone with a television has seen countless commercials declaring normal bodily functions are signs of horrible diseases.

Take the history of heartburn. First, they change it to something more frightening like Acid Reflux Disease. When it was just heartburn you would cut out that carne asada burrito just before going to bed and be happy. Now that it's a disease you go all crazy and demand the latest, greatest, most expensive new drug.

Companies use medical journals to promote their new diseases (and drug cures). They flat out bribe doctors. And they go to considerable ends to convince people that a horrible, disease-ridden death is just around the corner.

Now, back to me. I've narrowed my symptoms down to beriberi or small pox.

Read also:
Norman Cousins essay-A Nation of Hypochondriacs
PR Watch-Disease Mongering
Dr. Rath-Business With Disease
a couple from Huff Post on Disease Mongering by Dr. Larry Dossey and Dr. Andrew Weil

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