How I think GSK's online Social Anxiety Disorder [SAD] Test targets teenagers.
Let's go through GSK's SAD Test [Remember the SAD Test is online, the website has pictures of Paxil plastered all over it]
1. Are you afraid of people in authority. "Adolescents are extremely reluctant to confide in adults or authority figures. Many teens fear their concerns about relationships will be ignored, belittled, or ridiculed because adults tend to underestimate the intensity of adolescent relationships." 1
2. Are you bothered by blushing in front of people. "Statistically, teenagers blush more often than adults." 2
3. Parties and social events scare you. "By labeling shyness and other human traits as mental conditions with a biological cause, the doors were opened wide to a pharmaceutical industry ready to provide a pill for every alleged chemical imbalance or biological problem." 3
4. Do you avoid talking to people you don't know. See 3
5. Being criticized scares you a lot. "The better teenagers feel about themselves, the higher their self-esteem and ability to cope with these temporary problems." 4
6. Fear of embarrassment causes you to avoid doing things or speaking to people. See 3
7. Sweating in front of people causes you distress. "Research shows that 48 percent of teens sometimes think that their sweating is a problem." 5
8. You avoid going to parties. See 3
9. You avoid activities in which you are the center of attention. See 3
10. Talking to strangers scares you. See 3
11.You avoid having to give speeches. See 3
12. You would do anything to avoid being criticized. See 4
13. Heart palpitations bother you when you are around people. "Fear is a habit, and it is developed within you just as other habits are." 6
14. You are afraid of doing things when people might be watching. See 6
15. Being embarrassed or looking foolish are among your worst fears. See 6
16. You avoid speaking to anyone in authority. See 1
17. Trembling or shaking in front of others is distressing to you. See 6
This 'test' does nothing but play on human emotions and it plays on the mind of teenagers who are at an age where their bodies are changing. We have all been through it, we have all dealt with it in our own ways. Shyness is a natural human emotion. It does not need pills to cure it as it is not an illness.
The test is a brilliant marketing tool. Give a teenager a spot [acne] overnight and they wake in the morning, frantically searching for the spot cream, if they can't hide the spot, they may squeeze it until the pus shoots out onto the bathroom mirror, often making the spot look worse. It is something they don't want, something they wish to hide. Same goes for shyness. Nobody wants to be put into situations they don't want to be in. Even as adults we fret at night, tossing and turning in bed because we have that important interview in the morning, because the good looking girl/guy will be working alongside you and you just don't know what to say.
It's a human emotion that we were all born with. It rears its head when we are teenagers, when we think we know it all.
I'd go so far to say that if we didn't feel shyness then that would be some form of illness. Alas that is not profitable for pharmaceutical companies such as GlaxoSmithKline. There are far more shy people than there are people who are not shy.
And what exactly is shyness? Wikipedia defines it as: "In humans, shyness (also called diffidence) is a social psychology term used to describe the feeling of apprehension, lack of confidence, or awkwardness experienced when a person is in proximity to, approaching, or being approached by other people, especially in new situations or with unfamiliar people."
I'm guessing here but my money is on the fact that every single one of us have experienced feelings of apprehension, a lack of confidence, a feeling of awkwardness etc.
As we have grown older we have learned to deal with our fears. Cast your minds back to when you was a teenager experiencing the above. It was all new to us wasn't it?
It's part of life, a life, it seems, that Pharma want to take control of because it will make them a huge amount of money.
The online test carries the disclaimer "This site is intended for US residents only, 18 years and older." But it's plainly obvious, to me at least, that this test is aimed at teenagers who are experiencing life as it is, how it will always be.
1. Teenagers - http://www.yakimacounty.us/PA/DomVio/Teens.pdf
2. Why Do Some People Blush? - http://www.wisegeek.com/why-do-some-people-blush.htm
3. How shyness and other normal human traits became sickness - http://www.physorg.com/news111222013.html
4. Common teenage problems - http://www.bbc.co.uk/parenting/your_kids/teen_problems.shtml
5. Sweat Solutions - http://www.sweatsolutions.org/SweatSolutions/Article.asp?ArticleCode=60713936&EditionCode=88906227
6. Mastering Your Mind Power - Recognize How Fear Controls You - http://www.articlesbase.com/motivational-articles/mastering-your-mind-power-recognize-how-fear-controls-you-641973.html
For more reading on shyness read Christiphor Lane's 'Shyness: How Normal Behavior Became a Sickness' or view his website here
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