This project of retyping entries I made in a journal I kept for my AP Political Science class when I was 18 is definitely interesting in terms of seeing how things have not changed so much in almost two decades, including me. Oy vey! March 29, 1994
OK, I've been bad - I admit it! I just haven't been keeping up too much on current events outside the high school social circuit. But, if you want to hear any of the latest gossip, I could easily fill you in on many juicy tales!*
At any rate, a couple of weeks ago (I think - maybe it was earlier?), Newsweek had another cover story about Prozac. What scared me about it was the frequency in which it is prescribed, especially by general practitioners. I don't want to imply that family doctors don't know what they're doing, but why are they writing prescriptions that psychiatrists should? What's the point of having a psychiatrist when you can go to you GP and get a drug to "solve" your problems?
The problem with Prozacmania is manifold. First of all, if one is clinically depressed, he should see someone in addition to taking a drug. That's why family doctors shouldn't be giving them out like candy, and those types of doctors can't help in that way. Second, Prozac will NOT work unless you are depressed because of chemical deficiencies. What happens in depressed people is the tips of the nerves in their brains often become less stunted and less sensitive; they are therefore less able to receive neurological transmissions. Psychiatrists aren't sure if this imbalance causes depression, or depression causes this imbalance. (The result is the same, so I suppose it doesn't really matter.) What Prozac does is fix the tips of the nerves so that they can receive impulses and transmissions again. Hence, a Prozac patient is now at a neutral level; he is not happy nor depressed as a result of medication.
People, however, somehow have the idea that Prozac will make them happy all the time. It won't. All it does is even out the chemicals in the brain. If a person is depressed, not as a result of a chemical imbalance, but just depressed because everyone gets depressed sometimes, Prozac doesn't help. Besides, Prozac takes about 4 weeks before it can "work." It also stays in your system for several weeks after you stop taking it.
I can't understand why so many people love Prozac so much. I used to take Prozac and it did NOTHING for me. As far as I know, I did not have any chemical imbalance but I was depressed because my life sucked. Now, how was a pill supposed to change that? If I wanted a drug to make me happy, I would have used cocaine or marijuana (why aren't those prescribed?) or something, not Prozac. I'll tell you what Prozac did do - it helped erase a large part of my short-term memory. While I was on it, I could barely have a coherent conversation with anyone; my mind was completely unfocused, and I tended to ramble from one subject to the next. Even now, almost 2 years later, I can't remember things that the short term memory is supposed to keep track of.
I just don't understand why so many people WANT to get on Prozac. I was forced into taking it and eventually just refused to keep taking it when it didn't help. People are only asking for trouble when they take such strong drugs for no good reason. I urge greater restraint - and more restrictions - in using such a powerful drug.
*My teacher's comment: "Oh brother!"