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Antidepressants – Most Prescribed Drug in the U.S.

July 31st, 2007 · No Comments · Culture, Psychology

The CDC has announced that in 2005 the most prescribed drug in the United States was antidepressants with a whopping 118 million prescriptions written. While I have personally seen these drugs be a life saver in some instances, in many instances they are over prescribed and abused.

In Henri Nouwen’s book Reaching Out he makes the point that loneliness has the potential to convert itself into solitude and that solitude can have profoundly positive effects in our social and spiritual lives. Yet we live in a society of avoidance of the unpleasant and the result is a society that doesn’t really know how to live full lives. Living a full life does not mean we are joyous all of the time with big bubbling smiles plastered on our faces. Living full lives means we are able to be fully present in the full spectrum of human experience, the ups and downs, the good and the bad. Nouwen writes,

Our culture has become most sophisticated in the avoidance of pain, not only our physical pain but our emotional and mental pain as well. We not only bury our dead as if they were still alive, but we also bury our pains as if they were not really there. We have become so used to this state of anesthesia, that we panic when there is nothing or nobody left to distract us. When we have no project to finish, no friend to visit, no book to read, no television to watch or no record to play, and when we are left all alone by ourselves we are brought so close to the revelation of our basic human aloneness and are so afraid of experiencing an all-pervasive sense of loneliness that we will do anything to get busy again and continue the game which makes us believe that everything is fine after all…


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  • preacherman

    As minister we need to be cautious and understand that even Christians take anti-depressants. Many preachers preach rejoice in the Lord so much and think that Christians should instantly be happy, always walking around with joy, smile on face, song in heart, spring in step.
    For many their is chemical inbalance in the brain where anti-depressants are needed to live normal lives. Others go through crisis in life where it is needed. Others need them to treat other neurological illnesses such as migraines, and conditions. Anxiety disorders and other physical and emotional problems help them live normal lives.
    Depression isn’t something that we can just preach away on Sunday. Preaching against anti-depressants and depression can even send these individuals into deeper depressions. So, again we must cautious when we assume that “many abuse these drugs”.

  • Big White Hat

    My wife is one of the people who genuinely needs them. Even so, she desires not to. The side effects often suck.

    I think it is ironic that people with bipolar who actually need the meds want off of them. But folks who just can’t deal with their typical circumstances want on the meds.

    I would not relegate this to abuse. Folks are doing something about a problem. It may be the wrong thing sometimes. These meds generally have fewer bad points than the old fashioned method of staying drunk.

  • Big White Hat

    Don’t get me wrong. I can still see your point.

  • mattdabbs

    Kinney and Big White Hat,

    I did not mean to imply that they are abused more often than they are used appropriately. I think that is probably not the case. I do mean to say that there are many good alternatives for SOME people, not all. I do not think that Sunday morning preaching is going to miraculously cure someone of depression. I have done therapy and psychological assessments with many depressed people and know it is a real life saver in so many instances. I appreciate both of your sentiments. They are dead on accurate. God bless,


  • Donna

    I want to comment here…but find that everything I try to say sounds wrong…

    But I agree that some people use too many different kinds of drugs as a way to escape dealing with a perfectly normal life.

    And I realize there are many, many people who truly need this type of drug, and I am grateful they can get the relief that they need.

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