Sunday, March 30, 2008

It's not hypochondria, it's anxiety

Shannon Brownlee had a brilliant opinion piece in the Washington Post today about the modern practice of scaring people into worrying about their health and being tested and treated for a myriad of conditions, some of which are fabricated by drug companies. Here's a quote:
In our desperate desire for protection against the ambiguous and unseen nature of disease, we have allowed our physicians and the drug industry to medicalize everything from heartburn to heartache. We want answers, even when there are none. We look to medicine to bring relief from the terrible unknowns of aging and its inevitable losses, even when the answers have been manufactured to sell a drug.
It's certainly something I fall prey to. I actually have some medical conditions that do need treatment, but I worry much more about symptoms than I need to. My mother had a serious, disabling stroke when she was quite young, and that contributes to my anxiety, but it's not as if I can prevent my own illnesses by worrying about them in advance...

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