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So yesterday a few of us on the program, our program director, and his lovely assistant were talking about Americans, and particularly young Americans, and prescription medication for mental illnesses, disabilities, etc. And how much more quickly an American doctor will prescribe something for, say, depression or ADD than will his German counterpart.
I would like to here note that I am not against medicating mental illness. I have known a lot of people for whom it has been tremendously important and beneficial. And I was as offended as one can be, I think, when the man from the private insurance company we’re using told us that they don’t cover mental illness, but that that shouldn’t be a problem for us, because we’re all smart and strong. As though being smart and strong and being, say, depressed are mutually exclusive.
However. I also know that there are doctors in America whose very first reaction is to prescribe something. And that there are many teachers in America who would like to diagnose every other teenage boy with ADD. And that these drugs, which are made for grown up bodies, are being given to children with tremendous frequency.
I don’t quite know how to resolve the two previous paragraphs. And I don’t mean to say that the German way of thinking on this is necessarily the better one, because a) I don’t know enough about it, b) I’ve not made up my mind on this, and c) there is literally nothing more annoying than an American abroad who builds up her adoptive home by insulting her native one.
The only thing I mean to say is that I’m glad I had the opportunity for the conversation that I had yesterday, because it’s one that’s worth having, I think, on a much broader scale than the one a few kids and their program directors can provide.