Antidepressants and apathy: A hidden danger!
There was another report in the news this week about the widespread use of the antidepressants in modern American society. We can analyze this trend from many perspectives including medical, philosophical and sociological angles. My purpose today is to raise awareness of a subtle question: Are we hardwired to experience dread, anxiety and dissatisfaction to motivate us to transform our lives from “what is” to “what it ought to be”?
Do modern cultural fads such as meditation, yoga, psychotherapy and drug therapies force us to be happy with the status quo? Is it any wonder that twice as many women as men are the consumers of antidepressant medications? Are too many primary care physicians and nurses reaching for the prescription pads when faced with genuine despair and dissatisfaction with aspects of life that need to be dealt with? Are drug company advertisements painting an unrealistic picture of what a happy life is?
I cringe when a patient tells me about how blissfully uncaring she feels since starting her antidepressant, but still facing disloyalty and cruelty of a spouse, boss, or an adult child. It is an unpleasnant task to then discuss the need for the adjustment and simplification of the medication regimen so the person feels more of the justified anger, frustration, and anxiety that can produce the energy needed to take appropriate steps in empowerment and authenticity.