16th December, 2005
Too fat, too thin, too sad, too happy... Whatever the problem Biotech is developing a vaccine or a pill to cure us. Mark White examines the consequences of a world where all our worries can be medicated away.
It may be known as ‘retail therapy’, but the next edition of the American Psychiatric Association will recognise being a shopaholic as a clinical disorder. At Stanford University, trials held on the SSRI anti-depressant Citalopram concluded that the drug was a ‘safe and effective treatment for Compulsive Shopping Disorder’.
The rise of compulsive spending mirrors the obesity time bomb slowly detonating in the richest countries of the world, according to psychologists. A recent Australian study found that women in their twenties had gained an average of five kilograms in the last seven years.
In the last six months clinics to treat internet addiction have opened in the US and China. Meanwhile, a Scottish teenager was treated recently by an alcohol trust for an addiction to electronic messaging. He spent £4,500 on texting in a year, and quit his job after he was found to have sent 8,000 emails in one month. That’s 400 a day, or about one a minute, every minute of the working day. ‘It’s kind of comforting when you get [a message],’ he told the BBC. ‘I like it, it’s like a game of ping-pong, as you send one and get one back.’...
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