A friend of mine works construction in LA.  He talks to a lot of people – he does like to talk.  He told me a story of a woman he met about 3-4 years ago.  He had gone to her house to appraise some damage to her chimney I expect and as he is wont to do he spoke with her of many things besides the required work.  At one point she told him that she was very upset in life which made it hard to do her job and raise her kids.  She was constantly worried about things and couldn’t really pinpoint what it was that she was worried about.

Upon questioning it was discovered that this woman started each day by reading the newspaper and ended each day watching the news on television.  This was Los Angeles remember….

He asked her to do something that most people would never even consider: stop reading the newspaper and watching the news for one month.  Absolutely no “news” in her life for that amount of time.  It took a bit to get her to agree to this but he assured her that the world would not change that much in a few weeks.

She finally agreed and he .  He had asked that she call at the end of the month period.  She reached him after a week.  He was a bit concerned with her calling as he had already spent quite a bit of time calming her down and trying to convince her to stay away from the ‘news’.  But he was pleasantly surprised: She told him that she had completely kept away from the newspaper and did not watch the news on TV.  The result was that in only one week she felt completely different – she was much calmer and no longer was upset with everything in life.  In just those few days she was handling her job better and was actually enjoying life.

This is not the first story of this nature that I’ve heard and I’m sure that there are many more.

So, what does this have to do with psychiatry?

Big Pharma funds the media and obviously will tell them what can be promoted.  Do the homework – follow the money.  Look at the number of drug advertisements that are in magazines, newspapers and on television.  Money like this cannot be turned away by the media.

Also, you will find many board members crossing from Big Pharma to media conglomerates.  An example of this is: “MMR vaccine manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline has appointed to its Board the head of News International James Murdoch.”

It behooves psychiatry and Big Pharma to keep the media directed the way they want – the more upset the general population are the more drugs they will take.

Do your own research.