³Yeah, I'm on Prozac,² I hear quite often, said as if the speaker had just
received a new Porsche.
I often do catch myself responding with, ³I'm on
Zoloft&isn't modern medicine great?²
In a way, this exchange is a way of bonding.
In another, more twisted way, it is a way of receiving a stamp of approval from my
peers, for antidepressants have become extremely widespread and widely accepted.
..has entered pop culture.
..becoming the stuff of cartoons and stand-up
comedy routines² &and, of course, really bad jokes by people who do not take the
drug. (Chisholm and Nichols 36).
These days, being prescribed an antidepressant carries less stigma than in
³Prozac has attained the familiarity of Kleenex and the social status of
spring water² (Cowley 41).
Gone are the days when the label ³loony² is slapped
upon a person taking these drugs.
Antidepressants have become almost as
commonplace as Tylenol.
Prozac is being prescribed for much more than clinical
Some of the other illnesses that are treatable by Prozac include
bulimia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and dysthymia, which is chronic low-grade
In some cases, it is even prescribed for anxiety or low self-esteem
(Chisholm and Nichols 38).
Part of the popularity of Prozac stems from declining health care.
medical plans cut back on coverage for psychotherapy, says [Dr. Robert] Birnbaum of
Boston's Beth Israel, psychiatrists feel pressure simply to Dmedicate and then
monitor side effects¹² (Cowley 42).
General practitioners, however, write the
majority of Prozac prescriptions.
Both of these scenarios raise concerns, as some
psychiatrists state that it can be dangerous for antidepressants to be used without
concurrent psychotherapy sessions (Chisholm and Nichols 38).
When I discontinued
my therapy sessions after two years, yet still continued to take my
antidepressants, I felt as if something was missing from my life.
Therapy has been
a very important part of my treatment, and I would not have recovered as well if I
had not attended regular psychotherapy sessions.
With the common use of Prozac and other antidepressants, another
consideration arises: are these drugs becoming a substitute for really coping with
Prozac and the related antidepressants, such as Paxil and Zoloft, are
known as selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs).
They prevent brain
cells from re-absorbing used serotonin, which can elevate the moods and thoughts of
people suffering from depression (37).
But ³no disease can be blamed solely on a
serotonin imbalance² (Watson 86).
External factors and genetics often affect
As a two-year recipient of Zoloft, I discovered that, during the