Consuming Psychopharmaecuticals

In the eugenic age, mental disorders were pathologies, a drain on a national economy. Today, they are vital opportunities for the creation of private profit and national economic growth. Indeed the profit to be made from promising effective treatment has become a prime motive in generating what counts for our knowledge of mental disorders. Over the last twenty years or so, in advanced industrial societies of Europe and North America, psychopharmacology has carved out a very significant market (Rose 2004). Over the decade from 1900 to 2000, the psychiatric market increased in value by over 200 percent in South America, 137 percent in Pakistan, 50 percent in Japan, 126 percent in Europe, and a phenomenal 638 percent in the United States. At the end of the decade in the United States, sales of prescribed psychiatric drugs amounted to almost US$19 billion – almost 18 percent of a total pharmaceutical market of $107 billion, while the market in Japan, at $1.36 billion, amounted to less than 3 percent of a total pharmaceutical market of $49.1 billion. The growth of actual doses of psychiatric medicated prescribed from 1900 to 2000 is less market, with the United States showing an increase of 70.1 percent, Europe of 26.9 percent, Japan of 30.9 percent, South Africa of 13.1 percent, and Pakistan of 33.4 percent. In both the United Kingdom and the United Sates, one key growth area has been the new SSRI type antidepressants, increasing by around 200 percent over the decade, with a related, but smaller, decline in prescriptions for anxiolytics. A further feature, and one that has attracted much controversy, has been the rise in the prescription of psychostimulants, notably Ritalin (methlyphenidate) and Adderall (dexamphetamine), for the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in children.

Nikolas Rose, The Politics of Life Itself, Pg 209, Princeton University Press

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