Diagnosis: Human | by Ted Gup | America’s Pathologizing and Overmedicating

Ted Gup – an author and fellow of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University – published this story in the New York Times April 2, 2013. He discusses a personal story about his own son, stating that 11 percent of school-age children now receive a diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder — some 6.4 million….and that when his son was a child, he was also categorized this way. He was put on Ritalin, then Adderall, and other drugs that were said to be helpful in combating the condition.

His son was found dead at the age of 21 less than two years ago through a combination of drugs and alcohol, which the author claims is no doubt due to the fact that all his life he was prescribed something, that drugs have continually been there to pacify and self medicate.


“Ours is an age in which the airwaves and media are one large drug emporium that claims to fix everything from sleep to sex. I fear that being human is itself fast becoming a condition. It’s as if we are trying to contain grief, and the absolute pain of a loss like mine. We have become increasingly disassociated and estranged from the patterns of life and death, uncomfortable with the messiness of our own humanity, aging and, ultimately, mortality.

Challenge and hardship have become pathologized and monetized. Instead of enhancing our coping skills, we undermine them and seek shortcuts where there are none, eroding the resilience upon which each of us, at some point in our lives, must rely.

The D.S.M. (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) would do well to recognize that a broken heart is not a medical condition, and that medication is ill-suited to repair some tears. Time does not heal all wounds, closure is a fiction, and so too is the notion that God never asks of us more than we can bear. Enduring the unbearable is sometimes exactly what life asks of us.”

I absolutely agree with his points and believe that it is well worth the read!