I-Brain & Pills

I-Brain & Pills a symposium about the medicalization of our brain and its medicalization is generally described as the process with which normal aspects of life are seem more and more in the light of illness and health. Our daily life is thereby more and more influenced by the medical world. Of all European countries, Belgian is one of the top users when it comes to the amount of antibiotics which is taken each year per capita. The amount of psychological disorders and their diagnoses, too, increase constantly. Anxiety disorders, social phobias, burnout, and depressions, issues which people hardly ever had heard of in the past, are now extremely common. Partially just, partially possibly not. One out of every four western people would have a psychological disorder. The past five years have seen an increase in the use of antidepressants by 32%. Not only adults, but children as well, are unable to avoid this trend. More and more youths and children get the label ADHD and therefore are supposed to take the accompanying pills (including Ritalin). Do more and more children get the label because they no longer suit the behavioral norms, which deviate within a performance focused society? And/or is the medical knowledge just that much improved, and are diagnoses set more easily and quickly? Opinions are divided, which can also be seen in the major media coverage of the division regarding the new DSM, or 'Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders' - a psychiatric classification system which nowadays is used to make important decisions within mental healthcare. A societal discourse shows itself.

Goals of the symposium:

  1. To communicate the research which happens in Flemish university regarding the phenomenon 'medicalization' to a broad public and properly map it out.
  2. To show the importance of this research by linking it to a plethora of societal issues, questions, and annoyances, where we explicitly count in the stimulation of a societal debate into our goals.
  3. Nuancing the imaging and stigmatizing regarding brain disorders at the hand of scientifically validated images.


I-Brain & Pills is an organization by Breinwijzer vzw. The symposium takes place on Sunday the 24th of November, Day of Science, in the UFO, 9000 Gent. www.breinwijzer.be. Prof. Rik Achten (09 332 40 71), Eva De Vlieger (0496 297 107). This symposium is recommended. It hardly every happens that one gets to see so many scientific top experts together on one day. I am going, myself. Will I see you there?

Paul Koeck, MD