Brian and I were discussing yesterday the high number of people we know currently on antidepressants. Much has been written about the rise in prescriptions for these meds, but I have to admit I haven’t really paid much attention. Obviously there are more and better meds available today than ever before, but are people more clinically depressed today than in the past? If there are, then here are some of the things that Brian and I speculated to be the most likely causes:
- Increasingly empty societal values (unhealthy body images, materialism, MTV)
- The erosion of religious fervor leading to a rise in existential crises
- Increased leisure time to contemplate 1 and 2
- Food additives, preservatives, pesticides, growth hormones, etc.
I’m leaving out purely neurochemical causes because I can’t believe that America in 2007 simply has greater numbers of purely neurochemically imbalanced individuals (people who, simply as a physiological or genetic fluke, have bad chemicals on the brain) than in, say, 1950. If we truly do, then #4 is the most likely culprit.
Whatever the cause, I’m still made very uneasy by the prescription of antidepressants to treat any of the four above causes.