Ser humano, esta doença.
Ou: inauguramos o humano 2.0 — era que certos filósofos e ensaístas também tratam por “pós-humano”. Este artigo, para mim indispensável, publicado hoje pelo The New York Times, não discute quadros depressivos graves, mas a incorporação da cultura pela psiquiatria (ou a extensão desta àquela), numa “época em que os meios de comunicação são um grande empório de drogas que pretende consertar de tudo, do sono ao sexo. Temo [diz o autor] que o ser humano esteja se convertendo rapidamente em um conjunto de sintomas [livre tradução para “condition”]”. É a época do uso “off-label” ou extrabula de remédios como Ritalina, Adderall e o modafinil (Provigil, Modiodal), chamado de “viagra do cérebro“.
O trecho, vertido na coxas, continua assim: “Nós nos tornamos cada vez mais dissociados e distantes dos padrões de vida e morte, desconfortáveis com a confusão de nossa própria humanidade, o envelhecimento e, finalmente, a morte“.
O tema, que me fascina (e persegue), está em alguns poemas do meu livro inédito, “Quem Escreve Nunca Alcança”, a exemplo deste “Reclames da farmácia espiritual e 2 rabichos (quadras ao gosto popular)”.
Vão aí alguns trechos do comovente artigo de Ted Gup.
Se você esteve aqui e se interessou pelo assunto, recomendo enfaticamente esta reportagem da The New Yorker, de Margaret Talbot, que li na revista em papel, há quase exatamente quatro anos. Talvez tenha sido a primeira matéria na imprensa mundial sobre o uso “off-label” de drogas psicoativas. À época, o modafinil, se não me engano, mal havia chegado às farmácias brasileiras.
By TED GUP
THE news that 11 percent of school-age children now receive a diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder — some 6.4 million — gave me a chill. My son David was one of those who received that diagnosis.
In his case, he was in the first grade. Indeed, there were psychiatrists who prescribed medication for him even before they met him. One psychiatrist said he would not even see him until he was medicated. For a year I refused to fill the prescription at the pharmacy. Finally, I relented. And so David went on Ritalin, then Adderall, and other drugs that were said to be helpful in combating the condition.
In another age, David might have been called “rambunctious.” His battery was a little too large for his body. And so he would leap over the couch, spring to reach the ceiling and show an exuberance for life that came in brilliant microbursts.
As a 21-year-old college senior, he was found on the floor of his room, dead from a fatal mix of alcohol and drugs. The date was Oct. 18, 2011.
No one made him take the heroin and alcohol, and yet I cannot help but hold myself and others to account. I had unknowingly colluded with a system that devalues talking therapy and rushes to medicate, inadvertently sending a message that self-medication, too, is perfectly acceptable.
And we wonder why it is that they use drugs with such abandon. As all parents learn — at times to their chagrin — our children go to school not only in the classroom but also at home, and the culture they construct for themselves as teenagers and young adults is but a tiny village imitating that to which they were introduced as children.
The issue of permissive drug use and over-diagnosis goes well beyond hyperactivity. In May, the American Psychiatric Association will publish its D.S.M. 5, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. It is called the bible of the profession. Its latest iteration, like those before, is not merely a window on the profession but on the culture it serves, both reflecting and shaping societal norms. (For instance, until the 1970s, it categorized homosexuality as a mental illness.)
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. Diagnosing grief as a part of depression runs the very real risk of delegitimizing that which is most human — the bonds of our love and attachment to one another. The new entry in the D.S.M. cannot tame grief by giving it a name or a subsection, nor render it less frightening or more manageable.
Ted Gup is an author and fellow of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University.