Thank God – We’re All Happy Now!
A new study in the Archives of General Psychiatry reveals that antidepressant prescriptions doubled between 1996 and 2005 – so that now 10 percent of the American population is receiving those little lifesavers!
Since many experts have claimed Americans have been undermedicated (like our own great Peter Kramer), and yet the standard estimates of depression prevalence are about 10 percent, we should be fully drugged up and contented now.
I know, some qvetches will claim that antidepressant use will continue to grow since drugs don’t get to the core discontents of our era – especially considering that the fastest growing consumers of these and other psychiatrics meds are young Americans, and people don’t easily stop taking these drugs. Why can’t these stupid people absorb the reality that depression is simply a lifetime disease, and the more people we get on drugs, and the more quickly, the happier we will all be? (The same issue of the Archives had an articlefocussing on depression among preschoolers.)
One fair test of the competing ideas that depression is now being fully remedied, versus the one that what used to be called unhappiness continues to increase rapidly in this country, is whether antidepressant use peaks at 10 percent or continues to grow. Of course, this study’s end point is now almost a half decade behind us. Who out there guesses that there has been no further growth is depression diagnoses and treatment since 2005?
I had a dream that I applied for a job, and was rejected since I wasn’t on antidepressants. “We assume any mentally healthy person is on antidepressants – we simply can’t trust anyone who doesn’t recognize that they are depressed – or that they should be,” the Director of Human Resources told me.
I had another dream, set in the world of the film, Invasion of the Body Snatchers– the original, Don Siegel version – you know, where alien pods take over your neighbors’ souls and turn them into zombies. I was headed onto the beach, licking my lips at the prospect of a swim and then lounging by the water listening to the waves lap at the shore and watching women in bikinis stroll by, when I was confronted by a pod patrol looking for the unconverted. Something about me just screamed “non antidepressant user,” and they began that high-pitched screeching calling medics to inject me with drugs.
I awoke, and quickly made an appointment to see my doctor. Obviously, as anyone reading my blog can attest, I need to be medicated. (Peter, do you think you could email me a script?)