…And I’ve been wanting to write about it for a while but I didn’t want to offend anyone because, while I’m not trying to judge anyone’s need I just think it’s gotten way out of hand, so I’m glad Wired has written about it for me so I can maybe make the argument that it’s on other peoples’ radar as well and it’s not just that I’m an emotionless judge of societal norms forgetting that we are talking about real people here who are just trying to find a little happiness in this mad, mad world…(and if there’s a run-on sentence contest anywhere out there let me know cause it would feel good to win something.)
And here’s a good, really funny song in honor of my friend who’s letting me come (work project pending) and visit him soon in the gleaming city of all things political. I know he likes this band and it makes me nostalgic for the days when I wore Doc Marten combat boots with long flowery skirts and acted like a punk rock rebel, something my Dad found hilarious. So much so that he made me pose for a picture so I could see what was up 10 years down the road. I still have that picture and I do look totally ridiculous. But it was most definitely fun being that big a dork while remaining completely unaware of the fact that I was that big a dork…
Yale Lecturer Advises: Flush the Prozac and Hack Your Own Happiness
By Josh McHugh
01.18.08 | 6:00 PM
Illustration: Christian Northeast
Sometime in the 1990s, the concept of better living through chemistry turned a corner, thanks to drug companies’ efforts to synthesize antidotes for every possible mood swing. So writes Yale lecturer Charles Barber in his new book, Comfortably Numb: How Psychiatry Is Medicating a Nation. An OCD sufferer himself, Barber spent a decade working in places like New York City’s Bellevue Hospital. He knew something was wrong when he discovered that his colleagues’ perfectly functional, $300-an-hour Upper West Side clients were taking the same potent pills as his own schizoid, homeless, crackhead patients. “I would spend part of the day in shelters dealing with seriously ill people,” Barber says. “Then I’d go to cocktail parties and find out that the people there were on the same medications.” He proposes that we just say no to multinational drug peddlers and heal ourselves with cognitive and dialectical behavioral therapies — “talk therapy” techniques that minimize pill pushing, dispense with Freudian dream analysis, and engage patients in actively reprogramming their own brains. It’s like “a highly selective carpentry of the soul,” Barber writes — therapy as self-engineering.
He does acknowledge the need for medication in the hardest cases. Just like cancer, severe mood disorders can be life-threatening and should be treated as such, Barber says. But we need to distinguish between real depression and just being bummed out.
The vast majority of the 227 million prescriptions for antidepressants in 2006, he notes, were for people in the second category. Barber lambastes the drug industry for its attempt to turn “the worried well” into customers; he also takes aim at the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders for according disorder status to conditions like social anxiety and adjusting to a cross-country move. “Nonsense,” Barber writes, “anger, greed, laziness, impulsivity, as well as jealousy, lust, anguish, and so on, are simply part of the human predicament. They are not medical conditions.”
Read Full Post »