Prozac for everyone.

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From: Eirikur Hallgrimsson (
Date: Thu Aug 17 2000 - 19:40:14 PDT

(If Eliezer is actually on FoRK now, watch for fireworks! We differ
on this. He doesn't medicate.)

I'd expect that you would see performance improvement in
"normal" people. I have cosmic amounts of personal experience
ingesting (and withdrawing from) SSRIs and their recent decendants.

Normal is a continuum, and normal people vary (seasonally,
daily, even hourly) in their emotional state. Prozac seems to push
in a direction in that continuum, and even if it did not affect
people who were in peak emotional condition, it would increase the
activity level and resilience of anyone who was suffering from one of
life's setbacks, as we all do from time to time. But, I say it's a
continuum, and I know that you can become manic (ala
amphetamine psychosis) with an SSRI overdose. So there's a limit to
it. Too much self-confidence. Maybe that explains some of those

Me, I can get really set back. Too many blows or setbacks and my
physical mind seems to sort of cave in and stop being able to believe
in ANYTHING, or forecast anything except disaster and pain. And I
don't seem to naturally snap out of it. A pill can change that for
me. It's completely astounding.

SSRIs are truly weird. Even when I'm not *depressed* I can go from
being noticably quiet, retiring and reticent to being fairly
outgoing. So which is the real me? Where on a complex continuum of
mood should I put up my tent? I can choose, but it's very hard to
figure out what criteria to apply. And it's a slippery slope
because a lot of the time I don't want any help at all--but history
shows that subjectively I tend not to notice when I'm slipping.

I'll leave you with my pet peeve about antidepressants, and that's
the state of the research, which is pretty appalling. There's a
constant circularity of defining depression as that which is changed
by taking the drug, and a real lack of long-term studies considering
that with present practice, many people will be on them for life.

The contemplative "pro" case: "Listening to Prozac" by Peter Kramer
The contemptuous "anti" case: "Talking Back to Prozac" by Peter
Breggin. It's been said that Breggin makes money testifying in
"Prozac made me do it" cases, but I take his objections seriously.
He's not a crank. Not really about Prozac: "Prozac Nation" by
Elizabeth Wurtzel. Read her wonderful rant "Bitch!" instead.


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