Friday night topic: downsides of anti-depressants?

— 6:08 PM on October 27, 2006

I have zero first-hand experience with this subject, but I was intrigued to read this review of a new book about anti-depressant medications recently. The reviewer points out that today we have a generation of people who have been taking anti-depressant medication well into adulthood. These drugs, known as SSRIs, have done wonders for some people suffering from serious depression. But there are concerns about the drugs, including this one:

Dworkin says people like Kenny “don’t feel the unhappiness they need to feel in order to move forward with their lives. Sometimes people need a critical mass of unhappiness to push them out of a bad life situation. Artifically Happy people lose this impulse to change. Their unhappiness is suddenly erased by medicine, so they ask themselves, ‘Why bother? Things aren’t so bad.’ With life artificially clean and comfortable, they stay in their old ruts, stagnate in a pool of sham happiness, and sacrifice any chance for the real thing.”
If you read the full article linked above, the example of Kenny is a sad one. I hate to think medication would cause someone to fail to extract himself from a lousy set of circumstances or behaviors.

Do any of you have experience with these things, either first-hand or via friends or acquaintances? Does the good such medications can do outweigh the bad, vice versa, or is it more complex than that? Should physicians be more restrictive in prescribing these drugs—or in continuing to prescribe them long-term? Discuss.

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