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Foolspeak

Posted Dec 13 2008 10:37pm

At least weekly, some jackass writes an article reminding us just how ignorant most folks are about AD/HD. Today, Brian Orelli was that jackass.

Writing on fool.com —a website that offers money advice to people infatuated with money—Orelli found it newsworthy to mention the FDA’s formal approval of Concerta for use in adults.

At first I thought, that’s weird—I know dozens of adults in their twenties and thirties who have taken this drug for years. Had they all been paying teeny-boppers under the table before last Friday? Actually, eMedTV explains that prior June 27th, using Concerta for adults with ADHD was “considered an ‘off-label’ use of the medication, meaning that even though the FDA (had) not approved the medication for this use, your health care provider can prescribe it if he or she believes it is appropriate for your situation.”

I learned this from a twelve-second Internet excursion in which I typed “Concerta for adults” into a search engine. Orelli could have done the same, but not everyone bothers to Google the topics they pose as knowledgeable about. What else did this pseudo-expert have to say about AD/HD?

Contrary to what you might think, ADHD isn’t just for kids anymore. The potential market size for adult attention deficit disorder (ADD) is 30% to 70% of the childhood market. As many as one in 20 adults has ADD.

The biggest problem for drug manufacturers is getting those potential patients onto their drugs. With a stigma that rivals that of erectile dysfunction, manufacturers will be hard-pressed to get prospective patients to talk to their doctors about this problem.

First of all, let’s cut the dickhead some slack. His target-readership is not the A.D.D. patient, but the investor mulling over which pharmaceutical stock to buy. Still, let’s explore all the things he got wrong in the preceding excerpt of his vomiting up of total nonsense.

“Contrary to what you might think, ADHD isn’t just for kids anymore.”

Who said it ever was? Is “conventional-wisdom” dumb enough to presume the spitball-throwing “time-outers” perpetually in the kindergarten “corner” will eventually, miraculously, grow out of their A.D.D., or is this just the author falsely projecting his own ignorance onto his readers? Neither would surprise me.

And what does “anymore” mean? That it used to be “just for kids” but now the disorder has evolved to conquer adults’ too? Sounds like a virus that mutates and develops a new strain that helps it beat a vaccine. Scary.

“With a stigma that rivals that of erectile dysfunction, manufacturers will be hard-pressed to get prospective patients to talk to their doctors about this problem.”

Say wha…?? Slow down, buddy. E.D. is correlated with clinical depression and suicide. Where’s the data that shows that grown-ups who can’t focus at work face the same inner demons as dudes with floppy, dysfunctional cocks? Might Orelli have pulled this factoid directly from his ass? I think so, in fact, I’d bet my own anatomical functionality on it.

And if one can so flippantly scoff at the importance of having data to support one’s assertions, then why should prospective financiers and stock traders (whose monetary decisions and obsessions must at all times respect and be sensitive to numerical realities) listen to a goddamn word of this bush league loser’s bullshit?

But let’s suppose some investment clown suffers from A.D.D. symptoms, and does read Orelli’s garbage. That reader may now be less likely to talk to about it or seek a diagnosis, because he’s been subliminally informed that having A.D.D. is like having a defective penis. Way to perpetuate stereotypes, ass!

“The biggest problem for drug manufacturers is getting those potential patients onto their drugs.”

Here the writer does get something right, if inadvertently. To some people, financial triumph is tantamount to happiness itself. Such individuals have little time to worry about the wellbeing of others. Orelli’s writing style reflects beautifully that mentality. Pharmacists and doctors and drug manufacturers are in the business of earning a profit, as are the financial investors who fund their research and purchase their stocks. So the issue Brian Orelli sees as worth commenting on, the one his readers care about, is not whether or not some new product will improve the quality of human lives, but whether that product might lead to lucrative profits for the corporation producing it. Thus, the article is all about market share, and Johnson & Johnson’s struggle to get patients to see themselves as A.D.D.ers.

That’s business. The common good often is counterproductive. Of course, if we happen suffer from some treatable disease, something the pharmaceutical industry has a cure for, then everybody wins. They get paid and we get better and capitalism is fantastic.

But if we suffer from nothing at all, or if our disorder can’t be fixed by any prescription, then we’re screwed on two counts. We won’t get better–but they still want our money. And so they will invent disorders for us, new problems they claim their new drugs can solve. The spirit of this capitalist mentality is abundant under the breath of Brian Orelli’s blind spots.

Who knows how many so-called disorders are bogus? Individual people & brains differ. Sometimes that’s all that’s “wrong” with us. Is different always bad? Must everything unconventional be drugged out of us, just so that we seem ordinary in the naked eyes of others?

Some of us are well-equipped for the boring lifestyle of the 21 st century human. Others would have faired better in the past, when at any given moment some electrifying danger lurked around the corner and required quick-thinking, high-octane people to save the day. W e’d have been heroes then, but time has forgotten us. Today they have pills to cancel out our weirdness, a flaw they’ve named “attention deficit disorder.”

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