Friday, May 08, 2009

We live in a drug culture

You've probably seen this commercial for Abilify before, but I'll post it for those who haven't.

When I heard this commercial it just struck me how reliant on drugs we really are. Basically what this commercial is saying is that if you take drugs and they don't seem to be helping, or helping enough, the answer is to simply take more drugs. Drugs are not always the answer, and usually they just aren't the answer at all. We tell out kids, "Don't take drugs", "Say NO to drugs", etc. but then we are bombarded by commercial after commercial that says if you want to feel better, perform better, etc., the answer is in this drug or that drug.

Now a lot of people try to make the argument that there is a difference between prescription medication and "drugs" and on some level that is true, but on another level it just simply isn't true. Most of the street drugs today started out as drugs recommended by doctors. Yes, even cocaine and heroine. They were psychiatric drugs. We didn't know about their long term effects, side-effects and all that back then like we do now, so they are generally not prescribed anymore. But the flip side to that is that the drugs we have today are rushed to market without enough research and/or the doctors who prescribe them don't really pay attention to what they are doing or why they are doing it. (And I say this from experience.) The drug company tells them, "try this" and they do.

Some times medication is necessary. I'm not saying it isn't. But we rely on them too much. As a culture, we seem to have this notion that everything can be fixed with a little round pill taken once a day (or 30 minutes before sexual activity) and I think that is wrong-minded. We look for the easy way out and sometimes there just isn't one.


jenwhey said...

I've been taking Paxil for about 7 years. And it has helped me. But if I miss a few days of taking my Paxil, my head feels like its swimming, and I have a rebound depression, that feels worse than before I got on Paxil.

Jan said...

I took Cymbalta for a couple of years and just recently weaned off of it. It had gotten to the point where it wasn't helping me any more and actually seemed to be making worse. The withdrawal was uncomfortable, but nothing like the time I tried to quit cold turkey. I'm glad that I'm finally off it and not on anything else (I had been on Wellbutrin before the Cymbalta with similar ultimate effect). Hopefully I will stay depression free, but even if I don't, I don't plan to take anymore anti-depression medication.

jenwhey said...

I know what you mean. I am trying to ween off of Paxil, myself. I used to take 40mg. Now I take 20mg with no problems. I am currenty trying to cut down to 10mg...and then plan to go to 5mg until I don't have to have it anymore. Like you said, and with my experience, you have to ween yourself off of it, can't go cold turkey, just because it will cause physical discontinuation problems. The thing is, I did not even need it before. I was having trouble adjusting to a bad work environment, and my Dr. prescribed it to help me deal with a "situational" problem. It wasn't a case of "clinical depression". But as the years have gone by and better life situations, I think I no longer need it, and I am trying to get off of it.

Drew said...

I must point out that this is an American phenomenon. There are not nearly as many people in the rest of the world on anti-depressants. Not only that, but more people in the US are classified or classify themselves as depressed, than the rest of the world - which is a bit strange considering two-thirds of the world live below the poverty line and have lots of reasons to be depressed about.

Funny, how if you go back in time (not even that far) there were hardly any depressed people, there were hardly any anorexics/bulimics, hardly any obese people. It’s only in this day and age in wealthy corporate-ruled countries with no universal health care systems, like the US that you see such problems arising in society.

I think to solve your problems go spend a few years outside the US in South America or even better western Africa and then we’ll see how quickly you get over your “depression.” You’d be so happy to come back to the US, you’ll smile every day. And when you stop smiling, just go take another trip back to Western Africa (also known to be a cure for obesity, bulimia, and other disorders associated with having too much and being spoiled).

Jan said...

You may be correct about the US versus the rest of the world in antidepressant use, but I'd like to know where you are getting your info. I remember reading some years back that antidepressant use was so wide spread in England that trace amounts of Prozac were being detected in the drinking water. Here's a link to the old BBC article if you are interested.

My GYN suggests that so many women have depression because our neighbors don't care about us anymore (a lack of community). I think there is some merit to that.

Krevbot said...

A guy I work with and I have been talking about this very same issue.

Great post! Keep it up!