IN the 1960s and 1970s, Valium (and associated benzodiazepines – benzos) were known as “Mother’s Little Helper”- a drug prescribed to stay at home mothers to help them deal with their lives – fundamentally, a way of sedating them so they would accept a life they were unhappy or bored with.
What a drag it is getting old
Kids are different today,
I hear ev’ry mother say
Mother needs something today to calm her down
And though she’s not really ill
Theres a little yellow pill
She goes running for the shelter of a mother’s little helper
And it helps her on her way, gets her through her busy day
(Mother’s Little Helper, Rolling Stones)
By all accounts, it was an epidemic of medico-sanctioned drug abuse. A generation of women rendered passive, incapable of dealing with their dissatisfaction and unhappiness. Stepford wives.
Fast forward to the 1990s and 2000s. the drug de jour is Ritalin and other uppers to deal with ADD. ADHD, adult ADHD, etc.
Now I am not saying these syndromes do not exist. Nor that the drugs don’t work for some people. But then the Valium worked pretty well for women in the 1960s and 1970s.
But the explosion of diagnoses, and of prescriptions makes me suspicious. Are we waiting for someone to write a song about how we medicated our difficult children? What cost will they pay in their adult lives, when they haven’t learned to deal with their concentration, focus and behaviour without medication? What physiological effect will the drugs have one them?
And whose “illness” are we medicating?
For the full Rolling Stones Song, click here: Rolling Stones: Mother’s Little Helper