Monday, May 29, 2006


Iatrogenesis etymologically refers to anything brought forward by a healer. It could be pain relief or further misery. However since ambiguity is generally abhorred , the word has commonly come down to mean negative effects. These could be unwanted side effects of a drug , malpractise by a physician and so and so forth. Essentially any negative effect one could associate with medical practise. I would like to concentrate on psychological iatrogenesis however. Now since I don't have a medical degree and my training so far has been in biochemistry, I can only talk about information culled from google searches. I read up about MPD sometime back. This was to do with some story I was planning to write. For the moment, its been shelved. Coming back to MPD, the essence of what I'd read up was this- its a psychiatrist created disorder. Patient comes in , starts talking and the psychiatrist, through and during his sessions starts teasing out different aspects of his personality and before you know, there are a few personalities present when there weren't any to begin with. Hence Iatrogenesis. Won't go more into this as I am out of my depth.

What I would like to throw into the mix next, is alcohol. Now this is something I've observed from personal experience. I am a better person drunk than sober. Not that I don't like myself sober, but, I do like myself better drunk. Reason being , I am much more relaxed, much less uptight and generally a more fun person to be around than when I am sober. Heck I even dance. Something, I am terrified of doing, when sober. But, mind you, the liquer is not making me a fun person. I am already a fun person. What it is doing then, is getting rid of the inhibitions that I find myself bound with when sober. So if I think of doing something while I am sober, I can stop myself from doing it before I actually do it. Liquer removes that step between thought of an action and actual action. Mind you again, I am not using liquer as an excuse for doing what I am doing, just analysing it to heck and back. Why, because while I like my drunk persona, I detest hangovers. So trying to be a more fun person while being stone sober.

Lets see, we got inhibitions and we got alcohol, how about sex. Lets add that too. Again , I feel , the same analogy applies. Alcohol may help us unwind but won't really make us sexual fiends if we aren't that way. Seen any painfully shy people ? The ones who don't have a clue about the dating jungle? They are just as painful even when drunk , in fact , worse, If that was actually possible. So where does that leave us.

Depressed I'd say. Bring on the prozac. Except, that most people on prozac can't really get it up. The only good thing that comes out of it is that they aren't bothered even. Most drugs for depression won't cause one to act out all their lustful fantasies. Really too bad. ( though I used the phrase "get it up", I do mean to include the females in this travesty)

By all this, I don't mean to pooh pooh iatrogenesis. As a phenomenon, it exists, and any concern in this regard is valid. However I do believe that educated decisions can and should be taken about personal health. Rhetoric about pharmaceutical industries creating new diseases should not sway a cardiac patient in need of his meds, against them. But, the said cardiac patient should think about lifestyle changes geared towards better cardiac health.

Similarly, drugs should not be blamed for any behavioral traits ( especially by non medical personnal- blame , not the behavior) and should definitely not be used as an excuse or scapegoat. Not by the consumer of those drugs and definitely not by people who have the knowledge of the consumption.

Iatrogenesis, in today's world is a demon in its own right. Lets not create more while trying to destroy it.


sigmund fraud said...


A very interesting, though, serious note. So unlike you. One small doubt. You wrote this sober?

bilbo said...

hey siggy,
yep , was as sober as a door post when I wrote this. Was at work actually. It is a serious issue .

.m. said...

bilbsie. this was really interesting! didnt know they had a term for such a 'problem'.