Eli Lilly and Company produces and sells fluoxetine hydrochloride, also know as Prozac. Prozac is a big part of a growing antidepressant market, which in the United States alone is approaching four billion dollars annually.
In full page ads in national magazines, Eli Lilly makes sure that we are aware of our problem: “So you have trouble sleeping. Feeling unusually sad or irritable. Find it hard to concentrate. Lose your appetite. Lack energy. Or have trouble feeling pleasure. These are some of the symptoms that can point to depression—especially if they last for more than a couple of weeks and if normal, everyday life feels like too much to handle.” This part is under the headline, “Depression Hurts” and has a picture of a dark, rain cloud on a black background.
Lilly goes on to advise us that, “Prozac isn’t a ‘ happy pill.’ It’s not a tranquilizer. It won’t take away your personality. Depression can do that, but Prozac can’t.”
Just before the page turns from black to sky blue, Lilly advises us that some people do experience side effects including upset stomach, headaches, difficulty sleeping, drowsiness, anxiety and nervousness. This list of side effects sounds a lot like the list of symptoms of depression, but no matter. The next page has turned a beautiful blue and there is a vibrant, shining sun glimmering above a headline that reads, “Prozac can help.”
Here we are advised that side effects usually go away in a few weeks, but if you develop a rash ( this is the first time we are hearing about rashes) tell your doctor right away. And also, tell your doctor about any other medicines you’re taking. ( We’ll break away from the Prozac ad to note this: tell your doctor about these problems, unless he is a managed care doctor, and then just leave it on his voice mail. Or tell his physician’s assistant although we are likely to be dealing with the physician’s assistant’s secretary who is shared with the rest of the medical center. Or we can just smear on some over-the-counter hydrocortizone and hope the rash goes before our adrenals do, so we can keep taking the Prozac.)
The side effects are listed in horrific detail on page three in the traditional tiny print where those interested and possessing a magnifying glass can read about everything from altered platelet function to amnesia. Here, in the midst of the fine print side effects, Lilly says—and we can only presume this is said in all seriousness—”It is important to emphasize that events reported during therapy were not necessarily caused by it.” The bad things that happen when we take this drug are not necessarily caused by it. Only the good things that happen when we take this drug, all of which, no doubt, are caused by it.
And what are the good things caused by taking Prozac? Back to the sunny, blue sky page where we are told that when we feel better our doctor can send us to a therapist or “other means to work through your depression. Remember, Prozac is a prescription medicine, and isn’t right for everyone. Only your doctor can decide if Prozac is right for you—or for someone you love. Prozac has been prescribed for more than 17 million Americans. Chances are someone you know is feeling sunny again because of it.”
We feel that life is a bit too much. We not sleeping. We’re feeling sad and irritable. We take Prozac. The side effects may include not sleeping, anxiety and nausea. These side effects are not necessarily because we are taking Prozac, but if they don’t stop, we should stop taking Prozac because it is probably causing these side effects. Especially the rashes. If we feel better, it is because our doctor gave us Prozac. Now our doctor will tell us what therapy would be good. Or the secretary will. Whatever. Prozac doesn’t take away our personality. It takes away the depression which is not us. It gives us side effects, which is us and not Prozac. We are feeling better like 17 million others are. Chances are someone we know is feeling sunny again because of Prozac.
We got it.
We are happy.
But are we aware that we are happy? And, if so, won’t we also become aware that we are not really happy, we’re actually drugged?
And if we are aware, will we find happiness in Prozac or any other drug that presumably gives us back our personalities by taking away our depression (whatever that means)?
But, if this starts to bother us, we can just look to the full page ads run by Bristol-Myers Squibb for BuSpar. Bristol-Myers tells us that buspirone is an anti-anxiety drug for the ten million Americans who experience excessive and unfounded worries for six months or more with symptoms of irritability, muscle tension, restlessness, poor sleep and concentration. Side effects could be nervousness, lightheadedness, nausea and headache, but you probably won’t be anxious about these. And, oh yes, our doctor will caution us about driving a car or using complex machinery until we’re sure good ole BuSpar isn’t affecting our alertness or coordination.
But, at least we’re not worried.
Well, ok, we’re drugged.
But, we’re not worried about being drugged.
And, we’re happy we’re drugged.
It’s a Brave New World.
Generation Rx—Is Anyone Paying Attention Here?
Society values awareness. Paying attention is considered so important that millions of school children in the United States are given Ritalin (methylphenidate) or “speed” with the idea that it helps us pay attention.
Paying attention is good.
Speed is good.
Otherwise, kids would be falling asleep in their drug education classes.
Two million school children get speed, another half million or so receive antidepressants. Some schools have twenty percent of their kids on medication.
Speed is given to kids who talk too much and who are overactive. Antidepressants are given to kids who don’t talk enough and who are underactive. Ritalin and cocaine have nearly identical effects on brain cells.
The Drug Enforcement Agency publishes brochures on how to keep kids off drugs. The U. S. Department of Education publishes brochures advising parents where they can get drug therapy for their kids.
Kids too up, drug them down.
Kids too down, drug them up.
Kids just right, sell them beer and cigarettes.
Is anyone paying attention here? We are raising Generation Rx.
Food as Mind Drugs, Television as Food, Everything is Food for the Mind
It’s all drugs. Everything we consume in any way is a drug—it changes the way our mind apprehends reality. We tell our kids to “Just Say No” to drugs and then say “Yes” to the ultraviolence of television and movies.
Everything is food for the mind.
What is the change that takes place in an eight-year old who watches the images of one person killing another? How about one person killing hundreds? Has the mind been altered? Has the brain been damaged? Why is this valued by society and rewarded, when other brain altering substances or activities are punished?
What is the change that takes place in an eight-year old who eats junk food as if it were nutritious food? Has the mind been altered by the onslaught of sugar, salt, fat and chemical additives? Is there a difference between consuming carefully grown and prepared food or assembly-line food-like creations? Has the brain been damaged by throw-away world that wraps around the meal?
How about those flickering florescent lights in the school, the sallow light of the TV and the computer screen, the micro-radiation of the electronic world we inhabit? How about the pressure of time, accomplishment and acquisition we place on this same child? How about the psychological rampages parents go on with each other or the divorces when they get tired of fighting? Have we done any brain damage yet?
Let’s feed a continuous stream of information and maintain a high level of mental activity all the time. Let’s reward technological, financial, sports and media achievement. Let’s ignore everything else. How’s that little brain doing?
Let’s not forget to do drug education. Just say No. D.A.R.E. to be drug free. We’ll reward the kids by sending them off to the ball game at Coors Stadium.
It’s too late. The drug pushers have taken over the program. They’ve got our kids.
We’ve got our kids. We’re the pushers, of violence, hypocrisy, an over-hyped world and some really lousy food.
D.A.R.E. to be drug free.
It’s all drugs.
This is the mind. This is the mind on poverty, disregard and shame.
Drugs don’t kill minds, minds kill minds.
Join the Coalition for a Mind-Free America.
Be the first one on your block to get free of drugs, free of the compulsion of the experiencer, free of our lives of fear.
It’s all drugs. Everything is food for the mind.