Counselling and Prozac

Doctors of all sorts, notably psychiatrists and GPs, have helped to encourage the inflation of addiction and other psychological disorders and the demand for medical or psychological treatment that follows from it. Experts are continually advising us of the need to identify problem drinkers and others with 'substance abuse' problems so that they can be offered appropriate treatment. In 1992 the Health of the Nation white paper identified mental health as a key area and, for the first time, set...

The demon drink

There is no minimum threshold below which alcohol can be consumed without any risk. Alcohol can be blamed for some of the world's most serious health problems. We should be aware that alcohol is a risky, addictive and toxic substance. Every adult should have an alcohol consumption history taken using units of alcohol. (Health of the Nation, An information pack for General Practitioners, 1992) Patient Will I live longer if I give up alcohol and sex Doctor No, but it will seem like it. It is not...

Glossary Of Acronyms

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (aka Mad Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (also nvCJD new Department of Health and Social Security Environmental Tobacco Smoke (inhaled by passive Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (aka Chronic Fatigue National Institute of Clinical Excellence Royal College of General Practitioners

Nicotine from bad habit to chemical dependency

Most smokers do not continue to smoke out of choice, but because they are addicted to nicotine. This statement in the latest edition of the report by the Royal College of Physicians that launched the public campaign against smoking in the early 1960s reflects a significant shift in the war against tobacco and a confirmation of the current status of the concept of addiction. Whereas earlier editions had characterised smoking as a bad habit, the February 2000 version, bluntly titled Nicotine...

Introduction

People in Western society live longer and healthier lives than ever before. Yet people seem increasingly preoccupied by their health. There is a widespread conviction that the modern Western diet and lifestyle are uniquely unhealthy and are the main causes of the contemporary epidemics of cancer, heart disease and strokes. The fears provoked and sustained by an apparently endless series of health scares, backed up by government and public health campaigns, tend to...

Heart attack on a plate

The discovery of the link between smoking and lung cancer gave a great impetus to the quest for some similar causative agent of coronary heart disease (CHD), another condition which caused a rapidly increasing death toll from the 1920s onwards. Mortality from coronary heart disease grew at an even faster rate, reaching twice the rate of lung cancer in the early 1950s and three times the rate in the 1960s. Sudden death from a heart attack, particularly affecting men in middle age a condition...

Mackeith 1991 Health Promotion

Abbasi, K. (1999) 'Butchers and gropers' BMJ, 317 1600-01. Acheson, D. (1988) Public Health in England The Report of the Committee of Inquiry into the Future Development of the Public Health Function, Cm 289, London HMSO. Action on Addiction (1997) Press pack, October. London Action on Addiction. Advisory Committee to the Surgeon-General of the Public Health Service (1964) Smoking and Health, Atlanta US Department of Health, Education and Welfare. Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (1982)...

Major health scares HIVAids

In November 1986 the British government launched the 'biggest public health campaign in history' about the threat of the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Aids) resulting from the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). Advertisements ominously featuring 'tombstones' and 'icebergs' appeared on television, in cinemas, on high street hoardings and in the press the 'Don't Die of Ignorance' household leaflet followed in early 1987. The central theme of this campaign was the risk of a major epidemic...

From alternative therapy to complementary medicine

The contrast between the BMA's 1993 report and one produced only seven years earlier on the same subject, entitled Alternative Therapy, is dramatic. 'During the Prince of Wales' term as President of the BMA (1982-83)', notes the introduction to the earlier report, 'he urged the Association to look critically at modern medicine' (BMA 1986 1). In response the BMA established a working party, which produced its report in 1986. The report expressed a distinctly curmudgeonly attitude to what its...