The increase in the consumption of drugs also may be linked to a decrease in psychological well-being. This chapter shows why the prescription of pychotropic drugs use is associated with some specific aspects of isolation. Implicit treatment norms allow for prescriptions among the elderly since, in their case, loneliness and organic diseases are often combined; housewives’ consumption is also encouraged because their situation can be described as a problem of sheer solitude or personality. But the treatment of the sufferings linked to poverty, unemployment, or working conditions collides with moral reprobation even though these forms of vulnerability are rooted in a deficit of solidarity. The diffusion of psychotropic drugs in the Western nations thus appears to articulate two tendencies: it underlines the current erosion of the social link, and it simultaneously expresses a normative vision of this phenomenon.
Drugs - Prescription - Norms - Poverty - Isolation - Elderly - Disease
Philippe LE MOIGNE is a sociologist affiliated with the National Institute for Health and Medical Research (INSERM, Paris, France) and with the CESAMES research group from University Paris V. His work involves the study of sanitary and social policies, and aims at evaluating the action of the institutions (whatever medical, social, or legal) facing the suffering. This question led him to investigate the judicial treatment of unfortunate childhood. In addition, he is the author of many articles on the prescription and the consumption of psychotropic drugs. He published in particular on Psychotropic drug use: its social and geographical context (1996) and on The social organization of recidivism among the adolescent: An Intractable Youth (2000).
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This contribution is a chapter of the book edited by Patrick HUNOUT, The Erosion of the Social Link in the Economically Advanced Countries.
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