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LIVING: Prozac Nation: Have We Become Too Dependent On Drugs?

The U.S. rate of mental illness jumped from 1 in 184 Americans in 1987 to 1 in 76 in 2007.

Is Prozac, the so-called cure-all mood enhancing drug, the culprit?

A new controversial book, Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America (by Robert Whitaker, Crown Publishers, April 2010) is trying to answer that question.

Have we become a nation dependent on pills to deal with daily stress?

The $25 billion pharmaceutical industry supplying those antidepressants does not want us to question the effects (for example, a rise in suicide rates) of taking a magic bullet pill to make your anxiety and depression go away. But Whitaker's question "Could our drug-based paradigm of care, for some unforeseen reason, be fueling the increase in disability rates?" is also one that has a money answer, as governments fund disability due to depression.

The contentious new book on mental illness in America seeks to answer some of the tough questions about what has created a culture depicted in the 2001 film "Prozac Nation."

Is America ready for the answers, or would we rather just take a pill to make it go away?

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  • Lavendergrl 2010/05/01 03:34:06
    Lavendergrl
    +7
    Please don't tell me that whomever put together this poll erroneously believes that John Nash overcame his mental illness without pharmeceuticals. Schizophrenia is a whole lot different than depression. And even major depression is more than a chocolate-induced melancholy as seems to be the trend of belief on this site of late. There hasn't been a rise in mental illness. The stigma is lifting and awareness is bringing people up to speed; lifting masses from the dark worlds where they suffer. If your kidneys, your heart, your bladder, your SKIN can all be prone to numerous ailments, WHY THE HELL NOT THE BRAIN??? Why is it okay to treat other body parts with medication and not the mind. Geez! I've had it with ignorance!

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  • Rumpleteazer 2010/05/15 03:54:22
  • Drink.Drank.Drunk 2010/05/05 15:08:25
    Drink.Drank.Drunk
    +1
    Umm Prozac is not a cure. My mom was on Prozac and tryed to jump out of a two story window. I would never take prozac and i wouldn't recommend it.
  • seattleman 2010/05/02 01:14:14
    seattleman
    I could go on and on about this subject. YES!! We have become way too dependant on drugs, especially anti-depressants. Doctors love to push these drugs on to whoever they can convince need them. Don't buy their story! These stupid depression tests are ridiculous. 90% of people would have a test result of "suffering from depression" and be prescribed ritlan or some other anti-depressant.

    Of course there are cases of those who truly need help, and that may include drug prescriptions, but the majority of folks on anti-depressants do not need to be.
  • Eric ~ The Logician 2010/05/01 15:01:28
    Eric ~ The Logician
    +3
    I got my weed from the west,
    my pills from the east,
    and two bottles of goose, that's geese.
  • molly 2010/05/01 13:36:36
    molly
    I'm sorry, but I would be dead by now if it wasn't for the meds. 9 months after my son was born, I was diagnosed with postpartum psychosis, complete with depression, anxiety, hallucinations, suicidal thoughts, etc. I did go into therapy, but I was also put on meds ASAP to get me on an even keel.
  • lucky 2010/05/01 13:23:26
    lucky
    +2
    I think some people need the meds but i also believe many of those meds are over prescribed today.
  • captkirk999 2010/05/01 11:04:27 (edited)
    captkirk999
    +2
    Pills only better the people profiting from them.
  • Kalayaan 001 2010/05/01 07:32:42
    Kalayaan 001
    It is too much.

    I am surprised that Americans tolerate all the drug ads on T.V. that make so many people demand drugs from their doctors when they don't even need it. (And the doctors are forced to prescribe it to them or they lose patients.) Most nations deem this illegal.

    The public relations people have done a good job with making the people equate healing with the pharmaceutical companies. Think of it. When you think of a doctor, don't you think of a legal drug pusher? When was the last time your doctor prescribed 3 cups of coffee to combat an asthma attack? Skiitake mushrooms (1/3oz-3oz daily) to cut down your cholesterol (by 7%-14% in 1 week)? Or an infusion of parsley against allergies? Ginger infusion against ulcers? Or tea to enhance weight-loss?

    Note: Infusion -- n. a cup of water boiled and left with a herb for 10 minutes
    Source:
    enhance weight-loss infusion cup water boiled herb 10 minutes source
  • AverageJoe 2010/05/01 07:12:07
  • Turn the Tide 2010/05/01 07:00:21
    Turn the Tide
    Is that where the minds of people went this last election. People were so high that they believed they were electing Martin Luther King when in fact they were electing Karl Marx (a revolutionary communist).

    Mental drugs are temporary fixes until the root of the problem is found and dealt with by a psychiatric professional who knows well what they are doing. However, the underlying mental problem(s) may never be found while on mental drugs given by a family physician (whom is not really qualified in psychiatry) because the root of the problem will be masked.
  • msteresa87 2010/05/01 06:20:41 (edited)
    msteresa87
    +1
    Here's what I think about taking any prescription and over the counter drugs. prescription counter drugs

    I'll tell you why...most of them dont do much of anything. I know from personal experience, last year I was prescribed 4-5 medications for certain things, my memory turned into mush, I gained a whole person in weight, I wanted to sleep all the time, even while driving, I couldnt think straight, I became dependent on them to "cure" or "fix" me. Im not doing that anymore.
  • Lynn 2010/05/01 06:03:55
    Lynn
    +2
    These pills are poison.
  • ɟʇʇoɔs 2010/05/01 04:48:15
    ɟʇʇoɔs
    +1

    Should be replaced by this
  • Lavendergrl 2010/05/01 03:34:06
    Lavendergrl
    +7
    Please don't tell me that whomever put together this poll erroneously believes that John Nash overcame his mental illness without pharmeceuticals. Schizophrenia is a whole lot different than depression. And even major depression is more than a chocolate-induced melancholy as seems to be the trend of belief on this site of late. There hasn't been a rise in mental illness. The stigma is lifting and awareness is bringing people up to speed; lifting masses from the dark worlds where they suffer. If your kidneys, your heart, your bladder, your SKIN can all be prone to numerous ailments, WHY THE HELL NOT THE BRAIN??? Why is it okay to treat other body parts with medication and not the mind. Geez! I've had it with ignorance!
  • Louisa - Enemy of the State 2010/05/01 03:28:26 (edited)
    Louisa - Enemy of the State
    +3
    Weird that this question came up......

    I've been taking Prozac for sixteen years. A common misconception about Prozac is that you can take one or two and get some kind of high. Not so. It takes about thirty days for Prozac to begin working. And then, all it does is to clear the depression and make you feel normal. If you are not severely depressed the only thing you will get of it is a placebo effect!

    And to anyone who suggests that it's a rip-off or that diet changes will work as well as Prozac, I sincerely hope that you get good and depressed and live that way for the next 20, 30, 40 years. And I hope I run into you so that I can suggest a "change in your diet" instead of an antidepressant.

    If you haven't used or needed antidepressants, you really should not comment.
  • Alice Paul Louisa ... 2010/05/01 04:56:12
    Alice Paul
    +2
    When my happy go lucky, straight A student kiddo got serious clinical depression in grade eleven we tried EVERYTHING. I do mean everything. NO parent wants their young person on meds. It was a last resort when all else had failed. He had panic disorder too that was SO debilitating he missed over one hundred days of school and he still managed with help at home to graduate with an A average...but he DID go on medication and it saved his life. He can now function, I do not have to worry what might become of him every single time I need to leave the house. Serious, real, clinical depression and panic disorder are REAL illnesses and they don't just "go away" with counseling or diet. We tried all that. He HAS changed his diet, he DOES exercise and takes Kendo three times a week among other things.

    Celexa took a incapacitated, young person and within a six month period he was back to his old self, has traveled and done volunteer work in China with NO issues. It is not a perfect solution, it is not magic as you do have to be aware of the side affects but, when it comes down to having no ability to function or being able to really live your life then medication is sometimes called for and when it works it saves lives. It does not make him "high" It balanced the seratonin in his brain s...

    When my happy go lucky, straight A student kiddo got serious clinical depression in grade eleven we tried EVERYTHING. I do mean everything. NO parent wants their young person on meds. It was a last resort when all else had failed. He had panic disorder too that was SO debilitating he missed over one hundred days of school and he still managed with help at home to graduate with an A average...but he DID go on medication and it saved his life. He can now function, I do not have to worry what might become of him every single time I need to leave the house. Serious, real, clinical depression and panic disorder are REAL illnesses and they don't just "go away" with counseling or diet. We tried all that. He HAS changed his diet, he DOES exercise and takes Kendo three times a week among other things.

    Celexa took a incapacitated, young person and within a six month period he was back to his old self, has traveled and done volunteer work in China with NO issues. It is not a perfect solution, it is not magic as you do have to be aware of the side affects but, when it comes down to having no ability to function or being able to really live your life then medication is sometimes called for and when it works it saves lives. It does not make him "high" It balanced the seratonin in his brain so he could go to school, work, travel, be outside without those horrific panic attacks. The doctors know it is a brain imbalance of chemicals.

    Is it over prescribed? I do not know. I know for a fact in our case it was needed probably sooner than it was given. I also know that the ability to function is priceless. Unless you have lived with this you really, really don't know what you are talking about people. It's as serious as any other SEVERE illness. Depression kills.
    (more)
  • Louisa ... Alice Paul 2010/05/01 14:57:37
    Louisa - Enemy of the State
    +1
    Thank you! I totally agree. Prozac saved my life. I had reached the point where I was not going to allow myself to live another day in the 'dark world'; it just wasn't worth it.

    The first time I tried Prozac I was on 20mg. Nothing happened so I quit. I HATE to take drugs and have NEVER done illegal drugs either. So about 18 months later, that was when I had reached the end of my rope, I determined that I was going to do one of three things. Get electric shock treatment, find a new med or go on to the other side. It was New Years Day and I couldn't do anything except take the old Prozac that I had held on to. But I took 40 mg. I did that everyday and believe it or not, on the 30th I woke up and I KNEW it was different. I could see sun outside of my window whereas I always saw gloom. And I had a smile on my face. It was the happiest day of my life. But then I literally lived in fear that it was going to go away!

    That was sixteen years ago, after forty years of being from moderate to severely depressed. Some people just don't understand.

    As far as over prescribed, I think it probably is, but not long term. I have heard so many people say they took Prozac and got 'high'. No No No.........it doesn't work that way. What they were feeling was what they had HOPED and EXPECTED to...

    Thank you! I totally agree. Prozac saved my life. I had reached the point where I was not going to allow myself to live another day in the 'dark world'; it just wasn't worth it.

    The first time I tried Prozac I was on 20mg. Nothing happened so I quit. I HATE to take drugs and have NEVER done illegal drugs either. So about 18 months later, that was when I had reached the end of my rope, I determined that I was going to do one of three things. Get electric shock treatment, find a new med or go on to the other side. It was New Years Day and I couldn't do anything except take the old Prozac that I had held on to. But I took 40 mg. I did that everyday and believe it or not, on the 30th I woke up and I KNEW it was different. I could see sun outside of my window whereas I always saw gloom. And I had a smile on my face. It was the happiest day of my life. But then I literally lived in fear that it was going to go away!

    That was sixteen years ago, after forty years of being from moderate to severely depressed. Some people just don't understand.

    As far as over prescribed, I think it probably is, but not long term. I have heard so many people say they took Prozac and got 'high'. No No No.........it doesn't work that way. What they were feeling was what they had HOPED and EXPECTED to feel.......and it was all in their head!

    It is disturbing when people are critical of prescribed drugs because they may be inadvertently affecting some one's life who could otherwise be helped.
    (more)
  • Alice Paul Louisa ... 2010/05/01 15:50:47
    Alice Paul
    +1
    I don't think until someone lives with this or sees a loved one going through it they get it because in some cases it IS prescribed too much. These ARE serious medications and they should only be given where it's a case of proven clinical depression. The doctors can tell the difference between a serious illness and someone just feeling down because the two things are not remotely alike. If this is being prescribed too much I am against that too because it makes it harder for people who must deal with this illness in their family. We end up feeling we must somehow "justify" an illness that does take lives. There is too much stigma still attached to this illness. It's not like life long thyroid issues which also cause mood changes and nobody questions someone taking meds for that. It ought to be but, it's not.....yet. We had GREAT doctors though, they tried everything ELSE first...over a year and then knew they would have to try this medication. I'm glad it worked and my son is alive and living a productive life. For those out there who have dealt with this, my heart goes out to you. Seek help, stay as healthy as you can physically and NEVER give up.
  • The Berserker 2010/05/01 03:19:17
  • matheson 2010/05/01 03:18:48
    matheson
    +3
    Who owns the pharmaceutical industry? the government. Is anybody surprised that our nation is dependent on pills.

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2010/04/12 23:56:57

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